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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

‘Superbug more hype than substance’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 14, 2010
First Published: 01:07 IST(14/8/2010) | Last Updated: 02:04 IST(14/8/2010)

India superbug study author Karthikeyan Kumarasamy has backtracked and said the threat to the world was not as big as it was being made out to be.

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“It’s all hype and not as bad as it sounds. The threat of the NDM-1 is not that big as, say, H1NI (swine flu),” said the 32-year-old research student at Chennai’s Dr A.L. Mudaliar Postgraduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences.

He also said the study’s conclusion that the superbug came from India was speculative at best, underscoring the health ministry’s claim that the study was motivated and prejudiced.

“The conclusion that the bacteria was transmitted from India is hypothetical. Unless we analyse samples from across the globe to trace its origin, we can only speculate,” said Kumarasamy.

The study alleged that people travelling from Britain to India — largely because of medical tourism — were taking back a drug-resistant superbug called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1). Existing antibiotics used to treat other superbugs such as methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), are ineffective.

Since superbugs such as NDM-1 and MRSA are difficult to treat, the infection spreads easily within the body, especially people who are ill or recuperating from an illness. Its fatal if the infection enters the bloodstream, heart, lungs, bones or joints.

Experts in India insist the design and conclusion are flawed, not just because researchers admit they “could not prove statistically significant strain relatedness between Indian and UK isolates” but also because none of the samples was clonally related.

“This means there was no clear link tracing infections in the UK back to India. Any infection is anyway present in the US, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands,” said Dr VM Katoch, director general, Indian Council Of Medical Research.


New Delhi: Hitting out at the superbug controversy, the government said there was a need to find out whether some “ulterior motives” were behind the claim as there was inadequate proof to prove that it had originated from this country. “The reasoning that has been given, that the patients went from India and Pakistan to London... but this has not been mentioned that whether the patient who was in London was tested for having it before coming ...,” health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad (in pic) said.  PTI


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