St. Louis College of Pharmacy Professor Available to
Discuss New Drug Resistant Superbug
Subject: A new “superbug,” has emerged, causing illness in three states, including Illinois; and new cases are popping up all over the world, health officials reported Monday.
The gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, has mostly been found in bacteria causing gut or urinary infections; it’s raising concerns in the medical community. This strain of bacteria is resistant to the majority of available antibiotics.
The cases reported in the U.S. and Canada share a common detail – each infected person had previously received medical care in India where the resistant gene is widespread.
Expert: Ryan Moenster, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and infectious disease expert, 314-446-8556.
Quote: “It’s really a very big issue,” Moenster said. “In fact, it’s so big that the Infectious Diseases Society of America has approached Congress on multiple occasions. They’ve started the 10 x ’20 Initiative. The Society is challenging the government and pharmaceutical industry to come up with 10 novel anti-microbial agents by 2020 because drug resistance is such a problem. We’re facing a situation today where there are bacteria with no sensitive antibiotic solutions.
“There are several different mechanisms for bacteria to develop resistance to specific antibiotics. This gene probably conveys multiple different mechanisms. For example, it could cause the cell to express proteins that pump antibiotics out of the bacteria; make it difficult for the antibiotic to penetrate the bacterial cell wall; induce production of an enzyme that could break down the drug; or cause bacteria to change parts of their structure so antibiotics can’t do what they need to within the cell. There are certain genes that don’t just stay with one particular bacteria; they can be shared with multiple types of bacteria. That’s when it gets really scary – when one bacteria can spread these resistance genes to multiple different types of bacteria.”
About St. Louis College of Pharmacy: Founded in 1864, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest and largest colleges of pharmacy in the nation. The College admits students directly from high school and integrates the liberal arts and sciences with a six-year professional curriculum leading to the doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. More than 1,200 students attend, and more than 72 percent of practicing pharmacists in the St. Louis region are alumni.
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