Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (IIT Jodhpur) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have found that Klebsiella pneumoniae, a dangerous bacteria, is a major cause of hospital-acquired infection.
They discovered that this bacteria develops a viscous protective covering around itself, which is one of the major factors behind its high virulence and antibiotic resistance, a PTI report said.
The research has been published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum and the study is being performed in collaboration with the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT). Additionally, the study uses genomics and molecular biology approaches to identify new genes responsible for the bacteria’s potency.
Also read: Science and tech focus helps India shine, propels nation toward 2047
On WHO’s priority list
Klebsiella pneumoniae is one of the pathogens on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) priority list. It is a significant cause of hospital-acquired diseases such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections and infections among ICU patients and newborns.
Because of the bacteria’s high virulence and antibiotic resistance, the management and treatment of Klebsiella pneumoniae has challenged the medical and scientific community worldwide. Assistant Professor, Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering, IIT Jodhpur, Shankar Manoharan said, “One of the ways in which Klebsiella pneumoniae escapes the body’s immune system and antibiotics is by producing an extremely sticky and viscous protective covering (hypermucoviscosity) around itself.”
Sticky protective covering
Hypermucoviscosity can be identified by the string test in which a bacterial colony growing in laboratory media is touched using an applicator, which is then slowly lifted off the colony. If a sticky string of 5 mm or more extends from the colony to the applicator, the bacteria is hypermucoviscous and highly virulent.
Also read: World’s first science-Sanskrit film on Mangalyaan to premier in August
“We are currently studying these mutants and disrupted genes to explain the potentially new mechanisms behind this unusual sticky and viscous covering of Klebsiella pneumoniae P-34. Such understanding will enable the development of methodologies to effectively control the spread of such strains and treat infections caused by them,” Manoharan said.