Many CRE produce enzymes known as carbapenemases that inactivate carbapenems and other beta-lactam antibiotics. Clinically important carbapenemases include the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC), New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM), the Verona integron-encoded metallo-beta-lactamase (VIM), imipenemase (IMP) and oxacillinase-48 (OXA-48).
CRE can infect almost any part of the body. They are an important cause of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in many settings. CRE are associated with high mortality and are considered among the most pressing public health challenges globally. They are categorized by WHO as a ‘priority 1 (critical)’ pathogen for research and development of new antibiotics.