February 04, 2011

Lancet editor apologises for naming super bug after New Delhi

The editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, apologised on Tuesday for naming an antibiotic-resistant superbug after New Delhi. It was an “error,” he said.

A report in the leading medical journal in August last stated that superbug “New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamese” (NDM-1) originated in India. It created uproar in the country.

“The science behind the report was very strong, sound and correct. But it should not have been named after a city,” Dr. Horton told journalists here. “It was an error and I apologise for it. I think it should be renamed, but it should be up to the microbiologists [who discovered the superbug].”

Dr. Horton admitted that the name stigmatised the city or the region.

After the publication of the article, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said its contents presented a “frightening picture, which is not supported by any scientific data.”

Karthikeyan Kumarasawamy, a research student at the A.L. Mudaliar Postgraduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, who co-authored the article with Timothy Walsh, dismissed as hypothetical the conclusion that the bacteria was transmitted from the country. He said some interpretations were worked into the report without his knowledge.

Link: Original Article

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