‘Hygiene Crucial To Prevent Spread Of Bacteria’
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13 August 2010
By Prashanth G N
What is the superbug and how does it bring about resistance to antibiotics? Is it a crisis of administering medicines to people who have ailments? Prof K Arun, researcher in molecular biology and genetics, Indian Institute of Science, explains:
In layman’s terms, what is a superbug?
It’s a kind of microbe, virus, bacteria that is not killed by the arsenal of drugs or antibiotics we have at our disposal.
How is it resistant to antibiotics?
It’s a set of enzymes secreted by the bug which degrade antibiotics. Some kinds of enzymes work against the antibiotics. We are seeing enzymes at work.
How do the enzymes work against antibiotics?
Enzymes accelerate the rate of reaction and use some sort of a metal in this, maybe copper or zinc, that causes the spread of bacteria. We give antibiotics to kill bacteria when the immune system fails, but then the enzymes secreted by the bug degrade the antibiotics. We have to examine the properties within such enzymes.
How do these enzymes spread?
Water is a major source, during blood transfusion or surgery. They multiply drawing nutrients from our blood, tissue and body.
Is it fair to say that it comes only from India?
There are cases from other countries too. But it passes from human to human through water or during blood transfusion and surgery. It happens in any unhygienic condition.