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Superbugs are now well on their way to becoming resistant to the most common alcohol disinfectants used to kill them. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are now no match for the more resistant infection-causing bacteria.
According to a report by Reuters, scientists said that in a study of what the researchers described as a “new wave of superbugs,” the team found specific genetic changes over 20 years in vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or VRE – and were able to track and show its growing resistance to alcohol-based hand sanitizers designed to combat them. Their findings were published on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Tim - Stinear - Microbiologist - Australia - Doherty
Tim Stinear, a microbiologist at Australia’s Doherty Institute who co-led the study, said that in Australia alone, use of the alcohol-based hand hygiene has increased tenfold over the past 20 years. “So we are using a lot and the environment is changing,” he said. Yet while rates of MRSA and other infections have stabilized due to heightened hygiene, Stinear said, VRE infection rates have not. This prompted his team to investigate the VRE bug for potential resistance to disinfectant alcohols.
Such disinfectants restrict transmission of pathogens, such as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecium. Despite this success, health care infections caused by E. faecium are increasing. We tested alcohol tolerance of 139 hospital isolates...
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