Researchers discover conjugative plasmid that augments virulence in superbug

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A recent research led by Professor Chen Sheung, the Acting Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has discovered an easily transmitted DNA piece that can make a new type of hyper-resistant and deadly superbug become hyper-virulent quickly, posing an unprecedented threat to human health.

In 2017, Professor Chen, who then worked at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, together with his research team and collaborators from Zhejiang University, discovered a new strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae which was not only resistant to carbapenem – a highly effective antibiotic commonly used for treating severe or high-risk bacterial infections, but also hyper-virulent and highly transmissible. 

Recently, the team discovered that this Klebsiella variicola strain actually carries a new plasmid -  a ring-shaped piece of DNA, which harbours the key genes of the virulence plasmid commonly found in hyper-virulent Klebsiella pneumoniae. 

Their findings were published in Lancet Infectious Diseases and Nature Microbiology.

Period23 Oct 2019

Media coverage

TitleResearchers discover conjugative plasmid that augments virulence in superbug
DescriptionFurther experiments by the research team led by Professor Chen Sheng discovered that the new-found plasmid could travel from one bacterium to another. The transfer of this virulence plasmid to a carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strain can result in a significant increase in the virulence level of such strain, making it both carbapenem-resistant and hyper-virulent.

The new findings were published in Nature Microbiology end of September.
Persons
Media name/outletNews Medical Life Sciences
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Producer/AuthorKate Anderton
Date23/10/19
Linkhttps://www.news-medical.net/news/20191023/Researchers-discover-conjugative-plasmid-that-augments-virulence-in-superbug.aspx
Title使超級惡菌變得更致命的武器
Description由香港城市大學(香港城大)傳染病及公共衞生學系署理系主任陳聲教授帶領的研究團隊的最近一項研究發現,一種易於傳播的脫氧核糖核酸(DNA)分子能令一種高耐藥性的致命性新型超級細菌,於短時間內變得高毒力,對人類健康構成前所未有的威脅。
Persons
Media name/outletEurekAlert
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Date23/10/19
Linkhttps://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases_ml/2019-10/cuoh-5102219.php
TitleA weapon to make a superbug to become more deadly
DescriptionA recent research led by Professor Chen Sheng, Acting Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has discovered an easily transmitted DNA piece that can make a new type of hyper-resistant and deadly superbug become hyper-virulent quickly, posing an unprecedented threat to human health.

Based on this finding and more data from his team, Professor Cheng and his team will continue to investigate more clinical Klebsiella penumoniae strains to discover more different types of conjugative virulence plasmids, which attribute to the current emergence of hypervirulent and carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Persons
Media name/outletCityU Research Stories
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Date23/10/19
Linkhttps://www.cityu.edu.hk/research/stories/2019/10/23/weapon-make-superbug-become-more-deadly