Antibiotics resistance could kill 10 million a year by 2050


A British government-commissioned review has found that resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent by 2050

A British government-commissioned review has found that resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent by 2050

London (AFP) – A British government-commissioned review has found that resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent by 2050.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance said surgeries that have become widespread and low-risk thanks to antibiotics, such as caesarean sections, could become more dangerous without urgent action.

The review announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron was led by Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at US investment bank Goldman Sachs, and included British senior public health experts.

It found the region with the highest number of deaths attributable to antimicrobial resistance would be Asia with 4.7 million, followed by Africa with 4.1 million, while there would be 390,000 in Europe and 317,000 in the United States.

For comparison, the review estimated that the second-biggest killer, cancer, would account for 8.2 million deaths a year by 2050.

“The damaging effects of antimicrobial resistance are already manifesting themselves across the world,” the report said.

“Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone,” it added.

The calculations were based on existing studies by the think tank Rand Europe and the consultancy KPMG.

It warned drug resistance was not “a distant and abstract risk” and called for “a major intervention to avert what threatens to be a devastating burden on the world’s healthcare systems”.

The review emphasised the economic advantage of investment in tackling the problem early.

It said that three types of bacteria — the Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus — were already showing signs of resistance to medicine.

Treatment of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis were broader public health issues in which resistance “is a concern”, the report said.

In the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections are associated with 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses each year.

The economic costs annually are as high as $20 billion (16 billion euros) in excess direct health care costs and $35 billion (28 billion euros) in lost productivity.

Donor-patient compatibility may play important role in stool transplant


A study published in Science shows new strains of microbes from the donor were more likely to colonize the patient’s intestines if that particular species exists in the patient’s gut.

The finding suggests that by matching donors to patients, the success of faecal microbiota transplant can be considerably increased. Moreover, focusing on bacterial strands instead of species could also improve the effectiveness of the novel therapy in conditions where it’s currently not effective.

The bulk of the population has Escherichia coli in their intestines but different people have different strains of the species; some strains can cause health issues. By differentiating between the strains, the researchers could track if the microbes in a patient’s gut after a stool transplant were their own or came from the donor.

Using this approach we can examine if, for instance, an antibiotic-resistant strain is replaced by a non-resistant one, said lead researcher Professor Willem de Vos, of the Wageningen University, Netherlands. It could then aid in designing stool transplants for other conditions besides recurrentClostridium difficile infections.

The study is part of a clinical trial on the use of stool transplants as a treatment modality for metabolic syndrome. The data is collected from only 10 participants but there are strong indications that donor-patient compatibility plays a bigger role than previously thought; transplants from one donor led to very different outcomes in three individual patients.

Study Shows How Infections in Newborns are Linked to Later Behavior Problems


In animal study, inflammation stops cells from accessing iron needed for brain development

Researchers exploring the link between newborn infections and later behavior and movement problems have found that inflammation in the brain keeps cells from accessing iron that they need to perform a critical role in brain development.

Specific cells in the brain need iron to produce the white matter that ensures efficient communication among cells in the central nervous system. White matter refers to white-colored bundles of myelin, a protective coating on the axons that project from the main body of a brain cell.

The scientists induced a mild E. coli infection in 3-day-old mice. This caused a transient inflammatory response in their brains that was resolved within 72 hours. This brain inflammation, though fleeting, interfered with storage and release of iron, temporarily resulting in reduced iron availability in the brain. When the iron was needed most, it was unavailable, researchers say.

What’s important is that the timing of the inflammation during brain development switches the brain’s gears from development to trying to deal with inflammation,” said Jonathan Godbout, associate professor of neuroscience at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “The consequence of that is this abnormal iron storage by neurons that limits access of iron to the rest of the brain.”

The cells that need iron during this critical period of development are called oligodendrocytes, which produce myelin and wrap it around axons. In the current study, neonatal infection caused neurons to increase their storage of iron, which deprived iron from oligodendrocytes.

In other mice, the scientists confirmed that neonatal E. coli infection was associated with motor coordination problems and hyperactivity two months later – the equivalent to young adulthood in humans. The brains of these same mice contained lower levels of myelin and fewer oligodendrocytes, suggesting that brief reductions in brain-iron availability during early development have long-lasting effects on brain myelination.

The timing of infection in newborn mice generally coincides with the late stages of the third trimester of pregnancy in humans. The myelination process begins during fetal development and continues after birth.

Though other researchers have observed links between newborn infections and effects on myelin and behavior, scientists had not figured out why those associations exist. Godbout’s group focuses on understanding how immune system activation can trigger unexpected interactions between the central nervous system and other parts of the body.

“We’re not the first to show early inflammatory events can change the brain and behavior, but we’re the first to propose a detailed mechanism connecting neonatal inflammation to physiological changes in the central nervous system,” said Daniel McKim, a lead author on the paper and a student in Ohio State’s Neuroscience Graduate Studies Program.

The neonatal infection caused several changes in brain physiology. For example, infected mice had increased inflammatory markers, altered neuronal iron storage, and reduced oligodendrocytes and myelin in their brains. Importantly, the impairments in brain myelination corresponded with behavioral and motor impairments two months after infection.

Though it’s unknown if these movement problems would last a lifetime, McKim noted that “since these impairments lasted into what would be young adulthood in humans, it seems likely to be relatively permanent.”

The reduced myelination linked to movement and behavior issues in this study has also been associated with schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders in previous work by other scientists, said Godbout, also an investigator in Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR).


 

This current study did not identify potential interventions to prevent these effects of early-life infection. Godbout and colleagues theorize that maternal nutrition – a diet high in antioxidants, for example – might help lower the inflammation in the brain that follows a neonatal infection.

“The prenatal and neonatal period is such an active time of development,” Godbout said. “That’s really the key – these inflammatory challenges during critical points in development seem to have profound effects. We might just want to think more about that clinically.”

Recruiting E. coli to combat hard-to-treat bacterial infections.


The notorious bacteria E. coli is best known for making people sick, but scientists have reprogrammed the microbe — which also comes in harmless varieties —  to make it seek out and fight other disease-causing pathogens. The researchers’ report appears in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology and describes development of this new type of E. coli that can even kill off slimy groups of bacteria called biofilms that are responsible for many hard-to-treat infections, such as those that take hold in the lungs, the bladder and on implanted medical devices.

Matthew Wook Chang and colleagues explain that biofilm infections are difficult to treat because the bacteria hide away under a protective barrier of sugars, DNA and proteins. That shield makes them very resistant to conventional therapies. In addition, overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture also have made some bacteria, such as MRSA, shrug off most known treatments, making at least 2 million Americans sick every year. This growing public health threat has motivated scientists to look for new antibiotics and alternative treatments to beat infections. In the past, researchers made bacteria that fight off other microbes, but they had limitations. Chang’s team addressed those limitations by making a new kind of bacterial “gun-for-hire” that can sense an infection, swim toward it and kill off the disease-causing microbes.

They reprogrammed E. coli to sense Pseudomonas aeruginosa — a bacteria that can form biofilms and causes hospital-acquired infections in the lungs and the gut. The new E. colithen swims directly toward P. aeruginosa and launches an attack with an antimicrobial peptide and an enzyme that breaks down biofilms. Though the researchers successfully tested their engineered microbe on P. aeruginosa, they say that their engineering strategy could be used to combat other pathogens as well.

Microscopic ‘Tuning Forks’ Could Make the Difference Between Life and Death in the Hospital.


A patient admitted to a hospital with a serious bacterial infection may have only a few hours to live. Figuring out which antibiotic to administer, however, can take days. Doctors must grow the microbes in the presence of the drugs and see whether they reproduce. Rush the process, and they risk prescribing ineffective antibiotics, exposing the patient to unnecessary side effects, and spreading antibiotic resistance. Now, researchers have developed a microscopic “tuning fork” that detects tiny vibrations in bacteria. The device might one day allow physicians to tell the difference between live and dead microbes—and enable them to recognize effective and ineffective antibiotics within minutes.

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“It’s a brilliant method,” provided subsequent investigations confirm the researchers’ interpretation of their data, says Martin Hegner, a biophysicist at Trinity College Dublin who was not involved in the work.

The research involves tiny, flexible bars called cantilevers that vibrate up and down like the prongs of a tuning fork when they receive an input of energy. Cantilevers are an important part of atomic force microscopy, which is useful for making atomic scale resolutions of surfaces for use in nanotechnology or atomic physics research. In this technique, a minute needle attached to a cantilever moves across a surface, and the deflection of the cantilever gives information about how atoms are arranged on the surface. It can even be used to shunt atoms around. More recently, however, they have been used without the needle as tiny oscillators, allowing scientists to investigate matter directly attached to the cantilever.

Biophysicist Giovanni Longo and colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland immersed these cantilevers in a liquid bacterial growth medium and monitored their movement using a laser. They found that the bare cantilever moved very slightly as a result of the thermal movement of the liquid molecules in the medium. They then covered both sides of the cantilever withEscherichia coli bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, and immediately found that the oscillations became much more pronounced. The researchers believe that chemical processes that occur inside the bacteria as they metabolize energy are driving the oscillation. “What we see is that if you have some sort of a moving system on the cantilever, you are going to induce a movement on the cantilever itself,” Longo explains. “Exactly what kind of metabolic movement we see is something that we are still studying.”

To determine if the cantilevers could detect the impact of drugs, the team added ampicillin, an antibiotic that the cultured bacteria were sensitive to. The size of the cantilever’s oscillations decreased almost 20-fold within 5 minutes, the researchers report online today in Nature Nanotechnology. Fifteen minutes later, the scientists flushed the antibiotic out with fresh growth medium, but the movement of the cantilever did not increase again. This, the researchers say, suggests that the antibiotic had killed the bacteria. When they used an ampicillin-resistant strain of E. coli, however, they found that the oscillations initially decreased but returned to normal within about 15 minutes, indicating that the microbes had recovered.

Hegner cautions that the research is still “basic science. … It’s not yet an applied tool which is robust enough to be used in an ER or something.” That, he says, might take another 5 or 10 years.

Before that happens, Hegner says, researchers need to determine what the sensors are picking up and whether that signal can be conclusively linked to the bacteria and their antibiotic resistance. They also need to find out if properties of the medium affect the results, he says. “If you inject a bacterium into a medium with different viscosity and different density, this also might affect the vibration of the sensor.”

The Swiss researchers are continuing to investigate clinical applications of their system. They have recently obtained access to a more secure lab licensed to handle highly pathogenic bacteria and are working on confirming their results in these microbes. They are also thinking beyond the clinic. “Our dream is to send something like this to Mars to see if there is life,” Longo says. “It’s much faster than any other technique one can imagine—you just put some of the martian dirt inside the liquid and whatever attaches to the cantilever, if it moves it’s alive.”

Source: sciencemag.org

New study to give insight into public health risks of ESBL E. coli..


 

New project investigates public health risks of ESBL E.Coli to develop intervention plans to reduce infections caused by these bacteria.

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A new study by Public Health England (PHE) and funded by the Department of Health will, for the first time, establish the most significant reservoirs of a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria known as ESBL-positive E. coli that cause human illness in the UK.

Its findings will help to develop intervention strategies in efforts to reduce the numbers of infections such as urinary tract infections or blood poisoning, caused by these bacteria.

The research is being led by PHE with key collaborators from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, The University of Cardiff, The University of East Anglia, The University of Glasgow, Queen Mary University of London, and Health Protection Scotland.

The study will look at sewage, farm slurry and raw meat to determine whether there are any potential risks to human health in a number of different reservoirs of these bacteria. It will also look at stool samples from patients who have no symptoms of illness (asymptomatic carriage) to see whether the bacteria is in their gut (colonisation).

E. coli is a bacterium that lives in the guts of humans and many other animals. Colonisation of the gut by E. coli is perfectly normal and is harmless, although some other types cause diarrhoea. However, E. coli is also the commonest cause of urinary tract and bloodstream infections, which usually require antibiotic treatment.

Not all types of ESBL-positive E. coli bacteria cause human disease, and the contribution to human disease made by resistant strains from animals, meat and environmental sources is not well understood.

Resistant strains of E. coli are an increasing problem, reducing the number of antibiotics that a doctor can use for treatment. Many of the resistant strains produce enzymes called ESBLs (Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases), which make them resistant to most penicillin-like antibiotics. E. coli with ESBLs can also be found in food animals, raw retail meat, sewage and river water, but whether these reservoirs pose any public health risk is poorly understood.

Professor Neil Woodford, Head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit at PHE, said:

The risks posed to human health by resistant E. coli from non-human reservoirs are not fully understood. This study will help to disentangle this complex interrelationship.

Treatment of infections caused by resistant E. coli can be difficult, which is why we need to understand the risks better. Having said that, we want to reassure the public that presence of these bacteria in the gut does not require antibiotic treatment and is usually temporary. Most colonized people never develop an infection caused by the resistant strain.

This study is very important because its results will help to shape future intervention strategies to reduce the spread of these antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and to reduce the numbers of infections that they cause.

Notes to editors

  1. The amount of the funding from the Department of Health is £500,000 and the study is spread over three years. The study will cover different elements.
  2. The first piece of research will look for ESBL-positive E. coli in 20-25,000 stool samples collected in five different geographical areas (London, East Anglia, North West, Scotland and Wales), which will determine rates of harmless gut carriage.
  3. Secondly, sewage samples will be collected from various sites throughout each of the five regions and numbers of ESBL-positive E. coli will be measured in each sample.
  4. Our third study will seek ESBL-positive E. coli in samples of farm slurry and from retail raw meats collected in each geographical region.
  5. In the final part of the study, the ESBL-positive E. coli collected from the different sample types and in each region will be compared with those isolated from bloodstream infections to determine whether there are any genetic similarities between the resistant strains from sewage, animals, retail raw meat, and those isolated from human faeces and blood.
  6. E. coli are bacteria that are commonly found in the gut of both people and animals where they live harmlessly. Some other strains can cause illness, including food poisoning, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.
  7. ESBL enzymes were first described in the 1980s and during the 1990s were mainly seen in Klebsiella species found in hospitals mostly in intensive care units. Since early 2000s, they have become a global problem in E. coli.
  8. The cycle of antibiotic resistance is complex with interlinking elements between antibiotic use and people, livestock, pets, sewage and the environment.

 

Source: www.gov.uk

 

Synthesis of customized petroleum-replica fuel molecules by targeted modification of free fatty acid pools in Escherichia coli.


Abstract

Biofuels are the most immediate, practical solution for mitigating dependence on fossil hydrocarbons, but current biofuels (alcohols and biodiesels) require significant downstream processing and are not fully compatible with modern, mass-market internal combustion engines. Rather, the ideal biofuels are structurally and chemically identical to the fossil fuels they seek to replace (i.e., aliphatic n– and isoalkanes and -alkenes of various chain lengths). Here we report on production of such petroleum-replica hydrocarbons inEscherichia coli. The activity of the fatty acid (FA) reductase complex from Photorhabdus luminescens was coupled with aldehyde decarbonylase from Nostoc punctiforme to use free FAs as substrates for alkane biosynthesis. This combination of genes enabled rational alterations to hydrocarbon chain length (Cn) and the production of branched alkanes through upstream genetic and exogenous manipulations of the FA pool. Genetic components for targeted manipulation of the FA pool included expression of a thioesterase fromCinnamomum camphora (camphor) to alter alkane Cn and expression of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex and β-keto acyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III from Bacillus subtilis to synthesize branched (iso-) alkanes. Rather than simply reconstituting existing metabolic routes to alkane production found in nature, these results demonstrate the ability to design and implement artificial molecular pathways for the production of renewable, industrially relevant fuel molecules.

 

Source: pnas.org

Major Problems With Food Safety That Could Make You Sick.


The latest recall of E. coli infected beef should not only be a concern for beef and beef products but also other meats, cheeses, vegetables and water.

E. coli is a generic name for billions of such bacteria thriving in the alimentary canal of humans and animals. Their presence in food or water indicates fecal contamination.

The consumption of any such food or water can cause deadly disease. It cannot become safe by cooking or irradiation. Irradiation of the end products, such as steaks, hamburger, etc., may kill microbes but it does not exclude their original source which is feces and urine. Irradiation of meat may also generate carcinogenic substances. All such food and water must be rejected.

What Promotes E.Coli Infection?

Virtually every E. coli infection traces to unsanitary conditions in which food-producing crops and animals are being cultivated, processed, transported, stored, and ultimately sold for human consumption.

Most food-producing animals these days are raised at mega farms, commonly called factory farms. From there, they get transported for thousands of miles to similarly large slaughterhouses without being fed or watered for as long as 48 hours.

Covered in feces and urine, dehydrated, frozen and badly bruised, approximately 50 percent of them are reported to arrive there already dead. Moreover, the mechanized tools and procedures used to slaughter these animals convey their infection-loaded excreta into the eventual meat and meat products for human consumption.

Finally, the waste water from these mega farms, slaughterhouses, packing plants and other establishments gets drained into fields, rivers, lakes and wells. Reports indicate that every year approximately 36 million Americans and 11 million Canadians contract food-borne infections, out of which many thousand get hospitalized and several thousand die.

Drugs Used in Livestock are Central to the Problem of Food Borne Illness

Central to this problem are the drug manufacturers selling tons of different antibiotics to prevent frivolous infections in farm animals. However, what ends up happening in these animals is that thus used antibiotics destroy harmless microbes in their alimentary canal and yield room to antibiotic resistant “super-bugs”, such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, etc.

Due to these problems, large scale use of antibiotics is no longer allowed in the EU. In contrast, it continues to prevail in the US and Canada with government approval.

Another cause for concern is illegal approval of sex hormones by USFDA and Health Canada in beef production. Beef stimulating hormones are recognized to be “complete carcinogens”. In other words, they can initiate cancers and also promote existing cancers. In addition, sex hormones are recognized to cause endocrine disruption.

As such, sex hormones cause reproductive disorders, such as infertility, precocious puberty, drop in sperm count, etc. Like antibiotics, no such hormones to increase beef production are allowed to be utilized in the EU.

Other Food Safety Concerns: Slaughterhouse Waste Used in Animal Feed, and GMO’s…

Yet another concern for food safety should be the Canadian approval of slaughterhouse waste being fed to food-producing animals, which is known to transmit BSE in cattle (mad cow disease) and CJD (a fatal neurogenerative disorder) in people. Once again, any such use of slaughterhouse waste is strictly forbidden in the EU. The only other industrialized country allowing agricultural applications of antibiotics hormones and slaughterhouse waste is the US, whose food safety record is no better than that of Canada.

At issue also are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) attached to various herbicides and pesticides to increase agricultural yields of milk, meat, vegetables, fruits and ethanol whose public safety is being questioned throughout the world but not in Canada or the US.

These should be sobering thoughts for both Health Canada and CFIA. They cannot go on pretending the Canadian food supply to be the safest in the world when it is so frequently found to be unsafe. People have the right to know how their food is produced. The only sure way to know that is to conduct a public inquiry.

Source: Dr. Mercola