In a report published Thursday, researchers described a new strain of E. coli that is completely resistant to antibiotics. A 49-year-old woman in Pennsylvania was seeking treatment for a urinary tract infection when doctors discovered that the strain of this “superbug” contained the MCR-1 gene.
“This is extremely concerning; this is potentially a sentinel event,” remarked Dr. Beth Bell of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that researchers had to find out “who else might have been exposed or might be carrying this resistant bacterium,” which prior to last month had reached only 19 countries.
The lede to this piece about finding a superbug can't be overcome by morning coffee. https://t.co/eK7d7RP0YT
— John Dickerson (@jdickerson) May 27, 2016
“This shows that we are right on the verge of getting into the territory of routine bacterial infections being untreatable,” Steven Roach, the food safety program director at the Food Animal Concerns Trust, pointed out.
According to National Geographic, the good news was that the MCR-1 gene had not yet “combined with other resistance genes into a completely untreatable organism,” meaning that there is still hope. Unless researchers find a way to stop this from happening, this could be our inevitable fate.