DRAFTING – Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, USA, found isolated bacterial strains on the International Space Station (ISS) that are resistant to several drugs, raising concerns about possible implications. for health in future missions.
According to a study published in the BMC Microbiology journal, five strains of Enterobacter bugandensis were identified in samples taken from the toilet and training platform from the ISS in 2015. The genetic composition of individual strains was detailed and compared with all available public genomes from Enterobacter collected on Earth.
The results revealed that the genome of the ISS sample was genetically very similar to the three terrestrial strains of E. bugandensis recently identified as causes of infection in newborns and elderly patients with complications.
Analysis of functional and antimicrobial resistance from five bacterial strains showed resistance to the five most commonly used antibiotics – including penicillin – and two more "intermediate resistance". These pathogens are commonly found in the human intestinal tract, in wastewater and on the ground, and are associated with various nosocomial infections.
Dangerous or not?
It has recently been observed that bacterial competition for obtaining foreign genetic material increases in microgravity and increases its resistance to metals and antibiotics, factors that can affect LES strains for greater virulence in the future.
The researchers estimate that computer analysis is 79% likely that they can cause disease in humans.
According to Kasthuri Venkateswaran, lead author of the study, whether ISS organisms cause disease and how many threats they represent, depending on various factors (environmental, spatial, etc.).
"More research is needed & # 39; in vivo & # 39; to distinguish the possible effects of IAS conditions on pathogenicity," he concluded.