Chinese scientists have fully sequenced the genome of the new E. coli spreading throughout Europe.They announced on Saturday that they have found genes in the bacteria that gave it resistance to eight classes of antibiotics.
Researchers with the Beijing Genomics Institute, the world’s largest DNA sequencing centre, have found genes in the newly identified 0104 strain of E. coli bacteria that made it resistant to major classes of antibiotics including sulphonamide, cephalothin, penicillin and streptomycin.
BGI’s major research arm in Shenzhen says this helps explain why doctors in Europe have had difficulties in fighting the bug which has killed at least 19 people and made more than 1,700 ill.
BGI says the finding would help doctors choose the right medicines for treatment.
The Chinese researchers are developing a diagnostic kit which will be used to detect the bacteria and prevent the epidemic from spreading further.
E. coli attacks the kidneys and can cause seizures, strokes and comas and is mainly found in cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.
A number of countries have banned import of vegetables from Germany and Spain due to the E. coli outbreak.
In the latest move, Qatar has banned the import of all vegetables from Germany and Spain.
The Qatari Supreme Council of Health says it will not hesitate to ban all vegetables from European countries if necessary.