Indian drug factories’ waste is fuelling superbug rise

Hyderabad : ‘Apocalyptic’ superbugs that could render certain antibiotics useless are on the rise in drugs factories in India, scientists have warned.

One water sample from around manufacturing plants in the city of Hyderabad, in southern India, contained almost a million times the safe limit of antibiotics.

Hyderabad is a major production area for the global drug market. Almost all samples from the plants that supply the NHS contained superbugs resistant to multiple drugs, sparking fears that the growing resistance could spread to the UK.

The study’s authors said: ‘We investigated the environmental presence of active pharmaceutical ingredients and their association with MDR Gram-negative bacteria in Hyderabad.

‘Insufficient wastewater management by bulk drug manufacturing facilities leads to unprecedented contamination of water resources with antimicrobial pharmaceuticals, which seems to be associated with the selection and dissemination of carbapenemase-producing pathogens.

‘The development and global spread of antimicrobial resistance present a major challenge for pharmaceutical producers and regulatory agencies.’

Chief Medical Officer for the UK Government, Dame Sally Davies, has warned of the dangers of antibiotics becoming increasingly less effective.

In an interview in 2015, she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘Modern medicine as we know it – if we don’t halt this rise of resistance – will be finished.

‘Take cancer: most modern cancer treatments result in reducing your immunity and getting infections.

‘If those are bugs that are resistant to antibiotics then you are going to have a choice of do I take my chance the antibiotics won’t work, or do I do my bucket list?’

Patients infected with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are 64 per cent more likely to die than those with a non-resistant form of S. aureus.

People infected by resistant superbugs are also likely to stay longer in hospital and may need intensive care, pushing up costs.

The study on Hyderabad published last week in the journal, Infection, was carried out by scientists from research centres in Leipzig, Hamburg, Essen and Nürnberg-Heroldsberg in Germany, as well as from Madhapur, India.

Source: Daily Mail

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