There is no room safe to skate superbugs, a new study suggests, not even a place. According to the study, we found samples of bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics at the International Space Station (ISS). And although the bacteria have not made any astronause sick, the authors say that it is quite likely they can.
The authors behind the study, published last week in BMC Microbiology, are mostly members of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Technology. The laboratory is the main research center for NASA's robotic space and Earth science trips, such as the Curiosity Mars Sexual, and also runs NASA's Deep Space Network from satellites.
The new study is actually an update to the ongoing work of researchers. In January, the same research team announced the bacteria genetics of samples and swabbed of ISS surfaces in 2015. Within these samples, more than 100 bacterial genes were found to know They help to make antibiotics resistant bacteria. And there are strains that belong to a particular species of bacteria, Enterobacter bugandensis, withstands all of the nine antibiotics that have been tested against them.
In this latest study, they hoped to identify how dangerous these strains would be to human health. So they compared ISS strains genetics for three strain E. bugandensis gathered back on Earth who had ill people. Many ISS things were common with Earth stresses, including genes associated with antimicrobial resistance and virulence (the potential for infected microbes). Based on these genetic similarities, the team estimated that the ISS strains were 79 per cent likely to cause disease, or pathogenic.
Given the results, the authors wrote "these species pose important health considerations for future trips."
Enterobacter bacteria live everywhere, including in our eyes. Typically, they do not cause illness. But in people with weak immune systems, such as hospital patients, they can become a source of severe life threatening infections. And it was discovered recently E. bugandensis causes immune sepsis-reacting too difficult to infections that can collect our organs-in the newborn and elderly are fatal.
These beneficial infections are bad enough, but antibiotics resistants have become increasingly difficult to handle. And in space, where medical resources are limited and astronauts tend to have weaker immune systems, a potential infection could be disastrous.
Fortunately, the authors say there is no evidence that these strains have caused any disease on board the ISS. And there is still a lot of work to solve how much problem these bugs have, as well as whether the space conditions of travel encourage their growth or make them more dangerous. One scientist, for example, has assumed that microgravity could make bacteria actually evolving faster than they would on Earth, or kill the effects of antibiotic killings. Future research will need to include experiments conducted directly in space.
"Possibly whether or not a convenient pathogen likes it E. bugandensis says it is a disease and a degree of threat, depending on a variety of factors, including environmental factors, "said Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a research scientist in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, said in a statement." Further life to discover the effect that conditions on the ISS, such as microgravity, other space, and factors associated with a spacecraft, on pathogenicity and virulence. "[BMC Microbiology]