To Bolster Global Efforts in Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria KFSH&RC Scientists Discover New Bacteria Species: Riyadhensis

In a ground-breaking development, scientists at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC) have identified a new species of bacteria, referred to as "Stenotrophomonas Riyadhensis" through the application of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) technology. This discovery signifies a major advancement in understanding how bacteria interact with existing drugs, paving the way for innovative therapeutic strategies. Such efforts are essential in the global fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, highlighting KFSH&RC’s advanced research capabilities and its leading role in fostering scientific discoveries and enhancing patient care.

To Bolster Global Efforts in Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria KFSH&RC Scientists Discover New Bacteria Species: Riyadhensis

Image Credit: King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre

The discovery of "Riyadhensis" reinforces the potential of genomic tests in innovating promising diagnostic and therapeutic methods, as well as deepening the understanding of bacterial resistance mechanisms, particularly in sensitive environments like intensive care units (ICU) and among patients with compromised immune systems. This represents substantial progress in combating antibiotic resistance, developing pharmaceuticals, and preventing the spread of diseases.

This newly identified bacteria was discovered amid an in-depth investigation into a suspected outbreak in the ICU of KFSH&RC in 2019, highlighting challenges previously unrecognized by the global scientific and medical communities in pinpointing and countering new bacterial strains. Initially thought to be a variant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a disease-causing bacterium known for its resistance to antibiotics, subsequent WGS analysis revealed it did not share the common characteristics of the Pseudomonas genus. Instead, Riyadhensis was found to belong to the Stenotrophomonas family, with a unique genetic composition and morphological traits, unlike any other scientifically recognized members.

Dr. Ahmad Al Qahtani, Head of the Infectious Disease and Immunity Department at The research center of KFSH&RC stated: "Traditional bacterial identification methods may lead to misidentification, in contrast, WGS analysis offers a precise and targeted approach that ensures accurate identification and provides detailed insights into resistance mechanisms, proving its significance in disease outbreak investigations and patient care improvements."

Dr. Reem Almaghrabi, Head of Transplant Infectious Diseases at the Organ Transplant Centre of Excellence at KFSH&RC highlighted the discovery’s importance in advocating for continuous monitoring and the use of advanced technologies like WGS in developing faster and more accurate diagnostic methods. Furthermore, this approach lays the groundwork for scientific collaboration at all levels, enhancing global efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.

Understanding the nuances of new bacterial species, particularly their antibiotic resistance, is crucial in modern healthcare and serves as the primary means of combating bacterial infections. As these bacteria continuously evolve their resistance, they pose a significant and ongoing threat to human health.

It is noteworthy that KFSH&RC has been ranked first in the Middle East and Africa, and 20th globally, in the list of the top 250 healthcare institutions worldwide for the second consecutive year, according to the 2024 Brand Finance rankings. Additionally in the same year, it was ranked among the world's best hospitals by the prestigious Newsweek magazine.

King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre stands among the global leaders in providing specialized healthcare, driving innovation, and serving as an advanced hub for medical research and education. Through strategic partnerships with prominent local, regional, and international institutions, the hospital is dedicated to advancing medical technologies and elevating the standards of healthcare worldwide.

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