Molecular characterization and prevalence of antibiotic resistance in Helicobacter pylori isolates in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Alfizah Hanafiah* (Corresponding Author), Hasyanee Binmaeil, Raja Affendi Raja Ali, Isa Mohamed Rose, Bruno S Lopes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Aims and objectives: Helicobacter pylori has been classified as high priority pathogen by the WHO in 2017. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains is one of the main causes of treatment failure in H. pylori infection. This study determined and characterized primary and secondary resistances in H. pylori in Malaysia.

Materials and methods: Gastric biopsies from antrum (n=288) and corpus (n=283) were obtained from 288 patients who underwent endoscopy at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center (UKMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Antibiotic susceptibility to six classes of antibiotics was determined by the E-test. Mutations conferring in resistance in functional genes were identified by PCR and sequencing.

Results: Overall resistance rates to metronidazole, clarithromycin and levofloxacin were 59.3% (35/59), 35.6% (21/59) and 25.4% (15/59), respectively. Secondary isolates showed significantly higher resistance rates to clarithromycin compared to the primary isolates. Mixed infection with susceptible and resistant isolates was observed in 16.2% (6/37) of cases, of which 83.3% (n=5) had infection with the same strain. 41% (18/44) of isolates were resistant to more than one class of antibiotics of which 50% (9/18) were multidrug-resistant, two being primary and seven being secondary isolates. Mutations in rdxA, 23S rRNA and gyrA genes were associated with resistance to metronidazole, clarithromycin and levofloxacin, respectively.

Conclusion: The high level of resistance to metronidazole, clarithromycin and levofloxacin seen in H. pylori isolates in our setting warrants the need for continuous surveillance and highlights caution in use of antibiotics generally used as first-line therapy in H. pylori eradication regimen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3051-3061
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and drug resistance
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note


We would like to thank the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for providing both the permission and the facilities to conduct and publish this research. The research was funded by a grant from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia under Economic Transformation Programme Research Fund Scheme (grant no. ETP-2013-042).


  • Helicobacter pylori
  • antibiotic resistance
  • clarithromycin
  • metronidazole
  • levofloxacin
  • point mutation


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