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Structure of new NHS superbug discovered by scientists

Published on 06/09/2011

Avoiding the superbugs prevalent in NHS hospitals is one of the key benefits of being covered by health insurance, and a new superbug that is resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics has entered UK hospitals.

Bacteria that make up an enzyme called NDM-1 have travelled back with NHS patients who went abroad to Asia for cosmetic surgery, causing 50 cases in the UK alone.

NDM-1 can exist inside different bacteria like E.coli and make them resistant to a powerful group of antibiotics, carbapenems, which are usually the last line of defence against resistant bacteria.

Whilst scientists say it could become a global health problem, researchers have recently discovered the structure of the proteins that make up the enzyme. This knowledge could be used to develop treatments.

Researchers reveal that NDM-1 has larger ‘jaws’, allowing to attack more antibiotics than other enzymes. A drug could be designed to inactivate NDM-1 so current drugs would work again or to create different antibiotics which are not susceptible to NDM-1.

Prof Sharon Peacock, a member of the Medical Research Council Infections and Immunity Board, said:

"Identifying the structure of NDM-1 is a crucial step towards ensuring that drug development is based on a sound understanding of the mechanisms of bacterial resistance to antibiotics."

People with private health insurance will be guaranteed treatment in a private hospital of their choice, dramatically reducing their risk of catching super-bugs like NDM-1.

Compare quotes online with ActiveQuote now to make sure you avoid the risk of NDM-1.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  MedicalNHS and Hospitals
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