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Antibiotics push drug-resistant pathogens

Blackburg, Va. -- Antibiotics can pass through the body without metabolizing and enter the environment, causing concerns of heightened antibiotic resistance, a study says.

Amy Pruden, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, says the antibiotics in the environment become "potential sources of antibiotic resistance genes," reported Monday.

"The presence of antibiotics, even at sub-inhibitory concentrations, can stimulate bacterial metabolism and thus contribute to the selection and maintenance of antibiotic resistance genes," Pruden says. "Once they are present in rivers, antibiotic resistance genes are capable of being transferred among bacteria, including pathogens, through horizontal gene transfer."

Study IDs how bacteria develop resistance

Hamilton, Ontario -- A team of Canadian and British scientists say they have identified the specific mechanism that triggers bacterial resistance to vancomycin.

The researchers -- led by Professor Gerry Wright, director of the Michael DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University -- said they determined for the first time how bacteria recognize and develop resistance to vancomycin -- a powerful antibiotic used to treat superbug infections.