REDACCIÓN.- Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the United States, have discovered isolated bacteria at the International Space Station (ISS) that are resistant to multiple drugs, which raises concerns about the possible health consequences of future missions.
According to the study published in the journal BMC Microbiology, five strains of Enterobacter bugandensis were identified in samples taken from the toilet and training platform by ISS in 2015. The genetic composition of the individual strains was detailed and compared to all available public genomes of Enterobacter collected on Earth .
The result reveals that genomes of ISS samples are genetically very similar to the three earth bug strains of E. bugandensis recently identified as causing infections in neonates and elderly patients with complications.
The analysis of the functional and antimicrobial resistance of the five bacterial strains demonstrates their resistance to five of the most commonly used antibiotics – including penicillin – and two more "intermediate resistances". This pathogen usually occurs in the human intestinal tract, in wastewater and in the soil, and is associated with a wide range of nosocomial infections.
Dangerous or not?
Recently, bacterial competition to acquire foreign genetic material has been found to increase in microgravity and increase its resistance to metals and antibiotics, factors that could predispose LES strains to greater virulence in the future.
Researchers predict by computer analysis a 79% chance of causing disease in humans.
According to Kasthuri Ventatezvaran, the lead author of the study, whether EMC organisms cause illness and how many threats they pose, depends on a number of factors (ecological, spatial, etc.).
"More in vivo studies are needed to distinguish the impact that the conditions of the IAS may have on pathogenicity," he concludes.