Monday January 27, 2020

Even Low Levels of Antibiotics in Chicken can Cause Bacterial Resistance

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy

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chicken
They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal's environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut. Pixabay

Even negligible levels of antibiotics in chicken blood can cause bacterial resistance and sicken people with hard-to-treat infections, suggests new research based on a study of antibiotic resistance in leech’s gut.

Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments.

Antibiotic resistance can develop in the environment, too, as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies create favorable conditions for resistance by discharging large quantities of medications.

But what concentration of antibiotic exposures boost the growth of resistant microbes in the wild? The new study, published in the journal mBio, suggests the threshold is low.

The researchers found resistant bacteria thriving in leeches exposed to less than four-hundredths of a milligram, per millilitre, of ciprofloxacin, an important antibiotic, in the environment.

Chicken
Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments. Pixabay

That level represents less than one per cent of the “clinical resistance breakpoint,” or concentration in the gut that selects for resistance.

For the study, the international team of researchers took a deep dive into the microbiome of blood-sucking medicinal leeches.

They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal’s environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut.

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Those resistant bacteria, in turn, displaced healthy bacteria.

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy.

In addition, “it suggests that contamination with very low levels of antibiotics in other environments can lead to the increase in resistant bacteria,” said microbiologist Joerg Graf at the University of Connecticut in the US who led the study. (IANS)

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Gene Expression Signature in Blood May Predict Onset of Tuberculosis

This blood test may predict onset of tuberculosis

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Blood Test
Gene expression signatures in blood could be used to predict tuberculosis at a very early stage. PIxabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have revealed a blood test could predict the onset of tuberculosis three to six months before people become unwell, a finding which could help better target antibiotics and save countless lives. This test is a must for a healthy lifestyle.

For the findings, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, researchers at University College London sought to identify which, if any, gene expression signatures in blood could be used to predict the disease at a very early stage and before symptoms

Gene expression signatures are single or combined measurements of levels of specific gene products and are being tested in a range of diseases to aid diagnosis, prognosis or prediction of the response to treatment.

Some are already being used to support the management of cancers, but none have reached the clinic in infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB).

“Our findings establish the gene signatures in blood which show most promise for identifying people who are at risk of disease,” said study author Mahdad Noursadeghi, Professor at University College London.

Blood Test
The emergence of gene expression signature blood tests, which can aid diagnosis and early treatment, provides real hope for the management of infectious diseases. Pixabay

“Future development of a blood test based on these findings could make an important contribution to efforts to reduce the impact and spread of this deadly infection,” Noursadeghi added.

For this study, researchers initially conducted a systematic review of published gene signatures found to be present in blood samples from people with TB, compared to healthy individuals.

From this, 17 candidate gene expression signatures for TB were identified, and tested in more than 1,100 blood samples in published data sets from South Africa, Ethiopia, The Gambia, and the UK. Scientists analysed samples from people who had no TB symptoms at the time they gave blood. Those people were then followed up to identify which participants developed TB in the subsequent months.

Researchers found that eight of these signatures, including measurement of expression of a single gene, could predict the diagnosis of TB within three to six months, which falls within the accuracy required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for new diagnostic tests.

This accuracy was achieved, by revealing the patients’ immune responses to bacteria before the symptoms of the disease develop. “The emergence of gene expression signature tests, which can aid diagnosis and early treatment, provides real hope for the management of infectious diseases,” said Indian-origin researcher and the study’s lead author Rishi Gupta.

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“In this study we identify multiple signatures to identify the onset of tuberculosis, which is extremely encouraging, potentially providing multiple targets for early detection,” Gupta added.

Further development of these tests could help identify people who will benefit most from preventative antibiotic treatment, in order to reduce the occurrence of tuberculosis, the researchers said. (IANS)