Research Highlights: Remaining non-resistant pathogens after an antibiotic treatment may help control the growth of the resistant type


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Remaining non-resistant pathogens after an antibiotic treatment may help control the growth of the resistant type

  • Infectious disease practice calls for an effective drug treatment that quickly eliminates the pathogen before the resistant-type can emerge.
  • When the resistant pathogen is not present, this quick elimination strategy can lead to cure.
  • However, when the resistant pathogen is present, quick elimination of the non-resistant ones removes the barriers that controls the growth of the resistant pathogen.
  • Researchers developed a strategy which maintain a maximum tolerable population of the non-resistant pathogens, utilizing competitive suppression to gain long-term control.
  • Researchers measured the time required for resistant Escherichia coli populations to escape the threshold density produced by the effect of antibiotic.
  • Resistant E. coli without the non-resistant populations quickly escape the threshold density.
  • However, resistant E. coli that also has the maximum possible number of non-resistant cells could be controlled for a lot longer.
  • The increase in escape time happens only when the acceptable bacterial burden is significantly high.
  • This discovery confirms that maintaining the maximum number of non-resistant cells can help control the resistant type when the population size is sufficiently large.

Source:

Hansen E, Karslake J, Woods RJ, Read AF, Wood KB (2020) Antibiotics can be used to contain drug-resistant bacteria by maintaining sufficiently large sensitive populations. PLoS Biol 18(5): e3000713. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000713


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