Sales of ‘Last-Resort’ Antibiotic Driving Spread of Dangerous Superbugs

Misbah Khan

The global trade in a vital antibiotic for use on livestock farms is still driving the spread of dangerous superbugs in low- and middle-income countries, according to new research.

Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used to treat serious illnesses such as pneumonia when other drugs have not been effective. However, it is also commonly sold to livestock farms as a feed additive.

In 2015, there was global alarm when a colistin-resistant superbug was discovered.

… The new multi-country research, which combined existing long-term studies with more than a thousand fresh samples from farm and wild animals, sewage and hospital patients in Pakistan, detected the widespread environmental presence of mobilized colistin resistance (mcr-1) — the gene that can make bacteria resistant to colistin.

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