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.
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