IIT Jodhpur researchers identify factors responsible for the spread of bacteria causing infections in hospitals.

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The major contributor to hospital-acquired illnesses like pneumonia, bloodstream infections, infections among ICU patients, and infections in newborns is the Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. A research team at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur has discovered new genes responsible for the potency of this bacterium. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jodhpur and Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) Vellore scientists are working with researchers from IIT Jodhpur on the Klebsiella pneumoniae study, which is being led by Shankar Manoharan, assistant professor in the bioscience and bioengineering department.

One of the pathogens on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) priority list is Klebsiella pneumoniae. The bacteria’s high aggressiveness and drug resistance, according to a release from IIT Jodhpur, make treating Klebsiella pneumoniae a challenge. Researchers from IIT Jodhpur, including Manoharan and his PhD students Aastha Kapoor, Tamal Dey, and Ardhendu Chakraborty, professor Vijayalakshmi Nag of AIIMS Jodhpur, and Karthikeyan Sivashanmugam of VIT, Vellore, collaborated on a study that was published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum.

According to Manoharan, “Klebsiella pneumoniae produces an incredibly sticky and viscous protective layer (hypermucoviscosity) around itself as one of the ways it evades the body’s immune system and antibiotics.” He continued, “We are currently investigating these mutants and disrupted genes to elucidate the potentially novel mechanisms underlying this peculiarly sticky and viscous coating of Klebsiella pneumoniae P34. According to IIT Jodhpur, this understanding will aid in the more efficient management of the proliferation of such strains and the treatment of illnesses brought on by them.

Mayank Tewari

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