Inside the Lab That Found the Latest Superbug - NBC Connecticut
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Inside the Lab That Found the Latest Superbug

The team seeks to identify these superbug infections before they cause an outbreak

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    A lab culture of the "superbug" strain of E. coli taken from a Pennsylvania woman that carried the dreaded mcr-1 gene.

    The news startled doctors across the country last week. 

    A small team at the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) lab in Maryland that specializes in testing germs for antibiotic resistance, found mcr-1, a drug-resistant superbug in a Pennsylvania woman.

    Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upstaged his own speech about Zika virus to warn about what the arrival of mcr-1 means for people everywhere.

    "The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients. It is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently," he said.

    The MRSN team has not yet found another example of the mcr-1 gene in any of the samples they have tested. The lab tests samples from around the world, not only from U.S. military hospitals but from Israel, France's Institut Pasteur and elsewhere. The hope is to catch and stop outbreaks of dangerous new pathogens fast.