In an ominous sign for antibiotic effectiveness, the mcr-1 gene, which is responsible for resistance against antibiotic Colistin, has been identified in India.
The gene was found in a sample of E. coli bacteria by scientists in a hospital in Haryana.
Mcr-1 has already been detected in China, USA and Brazil.
The gene is believed to build resistance in bacteria against Colistin—a last resort antibiotic to treat infectious diseases in humans.
It is often used to treat human diseases when no other antibiotic works. Colistin belongs to a group of antibiotics called polymixins which are termed “critically important” by the World Health Organization.
Despite its critically important status, colistin is used extensively in food animal production for purposes other than treatment of diseases.
However in India, colistin is used rampantly for non-therapeutic purposes such as growth promotion and disease prevention in poultry farming and aquaculture.
However, no mandatory action has been taken by the Indian government so far.