Friday, 3 June 2011
BERLIN, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The recent outbreak of deadly E. coli in Europe was caused by an entirely new super-toxic strain, Chinese and German researchers said Thursday, after finishing sequencing its genome.
By now, 17 Germans and one Swede have been killed after the outbreak, while more than 2,000 people across Europe were sickened. The number of people suffering from serious hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) due to the infection has reached 470 in Germany.
In its latest report, the Beijing Genomics Institute in Shenzhen (BGI-Shenzhen), China's flagship genome center, said it "has just completed the sequence and carried out a preliminary analysis that shows the current infection is caused by an entirely new super-toxic E. coli strain."
BGI-Shenzhen was collaborating closely with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany by using their genomic technology.
The Chinese laboratory said it had finished sequencing the genome of the bacterium upon receiving the bacterial DNA samples, with the help of the third-generation sequencing platform -- Ion Torrent.
"Bioinformatics analysis revealed that this E. coli is a new strain of bacteria that is highly infectious and toxic," BGI-Shenzhen said in the report, adding that the bacterium is an EHEC serotype O104 E. coli strain, which has never been involved in any E. coli outbreaks before.
Posted by John Hardon at 13:12