A new superbug has been identified by researchers with the Partner State Key Laboratory of Chirosciences in the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This bacterium, a virulent, pathogenic and hyper-resistant strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae, has the potential to cause deadly, untreatable infections.
After an outbreak of pneumonia killed five patients in February 2016 at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University in China, researchers began an investigation. The patients had undergone surgery and were infected with the bacterium in the intensive care unit. After coming down with pneumonia, they subsequently died of septicemia and organ failure. The cause of their illness was a carbapenem-resistant strain of K. pneumoniae (CRKP), a previously known type of superbug.
It is a type of ST11 CR-HvKP, or ST11 carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae, that is known for its extreme virulence and high risk of transmissibility. The researchers suggested that an effective antibiotic may be found in ceftazidime/avibactam, although clinical data from the U.S. has indicated that ST11 CR-HvKP might become resistant to the drug quickly.