New Delhi, Apr 12: After openly denying the “existence and public health importance” of the NDM-1 gene, India has finally decided to check the presence of superbugs in the capital and its water supply lines, reports Times of India.
Yielding to pressure, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has decided to lead a study to gauge the “prevalence of Carbapenem resistance in Delhi's ICUs and environment”. Carbapenems are the most powerful generation of antibiotics.
British scientists had recently claimed that the NDM-1 gene or the New Delhi metallobeta-lactamase gene makes bacteria highly resistant to all known antibiotics, including Carbapenems.
A national workshop for scientists, who will undertake the six-month study, will be held on April 25.Initially, it will be carried out in three hospitals – Safdarjung, Ram Manohar Lohia and Lady Hardinge.
The study will look at all intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and whether any of the patients are resistant to Carbapenems. Some hospitals outside the capital are also being roped for it.
In case the results turn out to be positive, samples will also be collected from water samples in the locality around the hospitals and checked for the NDM-1 gene to infer that it's in the environment.
A crucial meeting to be held on Tuesday — under the aegis of director general of health services (DGHS) — will try to address how to look for the bugs, if any, that are prevalent in the teeming metropolis' water supply.
Senior officials from MCD, NDMC, Delhi Jal Board, DGHS and the city's top microbiologists will attend the meeting.
“We have decided to carry out our own study to confirm the presence of NDM-1 in patients admitted in the ICU and whether it has spread to the environment. NCDC will chair a six-month-long study that will begin in May. At present, we are finalizing the protocols,” a Union health ministry official said.
The action comes in the wake of British doctors accusing the Indian government of suppressing the truth about presence of drug-resistant bacteria, NDM-1.They also alleged that India is threatening its own doctors against taking part in superbug studies.