Lancet raps govt over presence of NDM-I in water | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Lancet raps govt over presence of NDM-I in water

International health journal Lancet today accused the Indian government of being in denial over the issue of presence of drug-resistant bacteria NDM-I in the public water system of Delhi and argued that the debate over the naming of the bug should not detract one from the health implications of the findings.

delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2011 10:08 IST

International health journal Lancet on Friday accused the Indian government of being in denial over the issue of presence of drug-resistant bacteria NDM-I in the public water system of Delhi and argued that the debate over the naming of the bug should not detract one from the health implications of the findings.

"The research is entirely scientific. If you look at our publication record for the last 10 years you will find that discovering new and emerging mechanisms of resistance is what we have been doing for ten years," Mark Toleman, one of the co-authors of the study which claimed to have found the bacteria in Delhi waters, said via e-mail.

"You will also notice that we have done similar studies on isolates from many different countries. Furthermore a responsible response would be to empower Indian scientists to do similar studies.

"Unfortunately the Indian government is in denial and actively suppresses the truth by threatening and abusing their own scientists," the author said.

Tony Kirby, the magazine's press officer, reacted to a senior health ministry official's claim that the researchers transferred the samples for the study illegally by saying that "we broke no Indian laws whatsoever".

"The debate over naming should not detract from the importance of the findings in Walsh and colleagues' paper and the implications that they might have for human health.

"We recognise that a discussion continues about the appropriateness of naming microorganisms, enzymes, genes, and their associated diseases with an identifier that some observers may feel stigmatizes a place or a people," he said.

In an official reaction he said, this important and sensitive issue is being examined by editors and may be discussed.

"For now, naming is the responsibility of the authors of the paper, and in the case of NDM-1 we are continuing to use a name first published in 2008, two years before its previous appearance in The Lancet Infectious Diseases," he said.