New 9.3 crore study to check antibiotic resistance in Ganga

  1. The government has commissioned a project under the National Gang Mission (Namami Gange) to assess the microbial diversity along the entire length of the Ganga. This is to test is the river contain microbes that may promote antibiotic resistance.
  2. The project will be undertaken by scientists at the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and Sardar Patel Institute of Science & Technology. Further, start-ups would also participate in the project.
  3. The main aim of the project is to indicate the type of “contamination” (sewage and industrial) in the river and threat to human health (antibiotic resistance surge) they possess. It would seek to identify sources of Eschericia coli- a type of bacteria that lives in the gut of animals and humans.
  4. According to 2014 study, cultural activities such as mass bathing in Ganga during religious mass gathering occasions, levels of resistance genes that lead to “superbugs” were about 60 times greater than other times. This give arise to concerns over potential acquisition and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  5. A 2017 report commissioned by the Union Department of Biotechnology and the U.K. Research Council underlined that India had some of the highest antibiotic resistance rates among bacteria that commonly cause infections.
  6. Antibiotic resistance is a subtype of antimicrobial resistance. Anti-microbial resistance is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarial) from working against it.