A new study by Chinese scientists suggests the country’s formal ban on the use of the last-resort antibiotic colistin for growth promotion in livestock has had a significant short-term impact on colistin resistance in China. The study, published last week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found that the April 2017 ban led to a substantial decline in the use of colistin as a feed additive in Chinese agriculture and was associated with a decline in colistin resistance in both animals and humans in China, as well as a drop in human carriage of the MCR-1 mobile colistin-resistance gene. Colistin is considered a crucial antibiotic for human health because it’s one of the last options for treating multidrug-resistant infections. But it’s also long been used to promote food-animal growth in many parts of the world. The Chinese government’s ban came in the wake of the discovery of MCR-1 in 2015 and its subsequent global spread.

 

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