26 May 2021 Volume :9 Issue :20

Study Indicates Antibiotic Resistance to Carbapenem in an Intensive Care Unit

Study Indicates Antibiotic Resistance to Carbapenem in an Intensive Care Unit
Mr Osama Madni graduates with a Master of Pharmacy cum laude.

Mr Osama Madni graduated with a Master of Pharmacy cum laude for his study entitled, Molecular Epidemiology of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacterales Colonization in an Intensive Care Unit. A member of the UKZN Antimicrobial Research Unit headed by the South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health, Professor Sabiha Essack, Madni conducted his study in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a public hospital in the uMgungundlovu District of KwaZulu-Natal.

Cabapenems are a class of highly effective antibiotic agents commonly used to treat severe or high-risk bacterial infections. This class of antibiotics is usually reserved for known or suspected multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections.

Madni’s study found that all isolates (100%) were resistant to ertapenem and meropenem, and 71.4% were resistant to imipenem. All isolates harboured the blaOXA-181 carbapenemase (100%) and carried other ß-lactamase genes such as OXA-1, CTX-M-15, TEM-1B and SHV-1.

‘OXA-181-producing K. pneumoniae belonging to ST307 was found to be potentially endemic in the hospital ICU environment. The presence of a myriad of antibiotic-resistant genes and selected mobile genetic elements in different permutations and combinations presents challenges to clinical management and infection prevention and control measures.

‘Hence, it is recommended that a carbapenem resistance screening programme, and strict infection prevention and control measures, are implemented in ICUs. In this way, one would be able to detect and eliminate this endemic clone to prevent its spread,’ he said.

Madni was born in Sudan, north-east Africa, where he trained as a pharmacist. He graduated from the University of Khartoum - the oldest and most prestigious university in Sudan and the second to be founded in Africa. ‘I excelled through every stage of my education, and I have consistently ranked first or second in my class. I am an ambitious and confident individual who wants to make tangible change in my community. This started earlier in my undergraduate years through participation in numerous health campaigns, such as, breast cancer awareness, diabetes, hypertension, HIV, and blood donation campaigns. In addition, I participated in various medical missions and outreach convoys to rural areas around Sudan.

‘In the wake of rising inflation and poverty, expensive basic medications are a concern amongst increasingly impoverished low-income earners in Sudan. The irrational use of medications, especially antibiotics, to treat infectious diseases spreading across big geographical areas is mainly based on people’s beliefs and the similarity of their symptoms. This has given rise to the excessive use of over-the-counter drugs and antibiotics. Observing this trend inspired me to pursue postgraduate studies and gain first-hand knowledge and professional skills in antibiotic resistance in order to create awareness of antibiotic resistance.’

‘Osama is an exceptional student whose commitment to hard work and excellence makes him a young emerging researcher who can become a leading scientist in the future. The findings of his study are not only significant for the South African public health sector, but will contribute enormously to the fight against antimicrobial resistance in Africa,’ said co-supervisor of the study, Dr Luther King Abia Akebe, Leader: Molecular and Environmental Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance based in the UKZN Antimicrobial Research Unit.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied

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