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Scientists discover new ‘jumping’ superbug gene
“In treatments, if colistin does not work, it literally could mean death for patients. If colistin resistance spreads, a lot of people will die.”
mcr-9 can cause resistance to colistin 

US food scientists have discovered mcr-9, a new ‘jumping gene’ that can cause resistance to the last resort antibiotic colistin.

Cornell University researchers found mcr-9 in the genome of a strain of salmonella. To their surprise, the salmonella strain did not show colistin resistance.

However, when the gene was inserted into a non-pathogenic strain of E coli, researchers were able to ‘turn on’ mcr-9, making the strain resistant to colistin.

The findings have been published in the journal Mbio.

Co-lead author Laura Carroll said: “When we originally tested the salmonella isolate and found that it wasn’t resistant to colistin, we were perplexed. But when [co-lead author Ahmed Gabella] cloned it into an E. coli host, he was able to find that the gene could confer resistance to colistin.”

Commenting on the findings, Professor Martin Wiedmann said: “In treatments, if colistin does not work, it literally could mean death for patients. If colistin resistance spreads, a lot of people will die.”

mcr-9 is the latest in a string of ‘mobilised colistin-resistance genes’ first discovered in 2015.

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information added details of the new gene to its database, so that it can be used to identify the gene in bacteria isolated from food and people.

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Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

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Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.