Marilyn Roberts is quoted in this story by Marlowe Hood.
Paris (AFP) - Scientists warned Thursday of the "epidemic potential" of deadly and fast-spreading bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics.
The new superbugs, found in southern China, could erase nearly a century of antibiotic protection against killer diseases born by common germs such as E. coli, the researchers reported in a study.
"These are extremely worrying results," said Jian-Hua Liu, a professor at Southern Agricultural University in Guangzhou and co-author of the study.
Liu and colleagues found a gene, called MCR-1, that makes bacteria resistant to a class of antibiotics, known as polymyxins, used to fight superbugs.
The gene -- detected in common but deadly bacteria such as E. coli and K. pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia and blood disease -- effectively makes these bacteria invincible.