Nav: Home

Antibiotic tolerance reduces the ability to prevent resistance under drug combination therapies

January 09, 2020

Antimicrobial tolerance can promote the evolution of antimicrobial resistance even under combination drug treatments widely used and expected to prevent it from occurring, a new study finds. The results suggest the need to consider drug tolerance when designing antibiotic treatments to prevent antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The rise of antimicrobial resistance in potentially life-threatening infections is a growing concern worldwide. In the United States alone, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections were identified in 2019, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths. To improve patient outcomes as well as to reduce the potential for the emergence of resistance, it's become common clinical practice to use combinations of antimicrobial drugs to treat the most serious and stubborn infections. Whereas antimicrobial resistance renders microbes invulnerable to the drugs designed to kill them, they can also become more tolerant of them, which is often associated with the failure of antibiotic treatments and the relapse of infections. Previous studies have demonstrated the rapid emergence of tolerance during single antibiotic treatments, which can subsequently promote the evolution of resistance. However, the effect of tolerance on the emergence of resistance when drug combinations are used remains unclear. Jiafeng Liu and colleagues closely monitored the evolutionary trajectory of life-threatening methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from patients undergoing combination treatment for persistent MRSA blood infections. Liu et al. observed the rapid emergence of tolerance in microbial populations that was followed by the development of resistance, despite combination treatment. According to the authors, once tolerance was established for just one of the drugs, the benefits of using drug combinations were lost. Experiments using different classes of antibiotics produced similar results. "Although these results suggest that many benefits are lost when microbes become tolerant, additional studies assessing clinical outcomes in patients with antimicrobial-tolerant infections will be necessary to guide clinical decision making," write Andrew Berti and Elizabeth Hirsch in a related Perspective.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Evolution Articles:

Artificial evolution of an industry
A research team has taken a deep dive into the newly emerging domain of 'forward-looking' business strategies that show firms have far more ability to actively influence the future of their markets than once thought.
Paleontology: Experiments in evolution
A new find from Patagonia sheds light on the evolution of large predatory dinosaurs.
A window into evolution
The C4 cycle supercharges photosynthesis and evolved independently more than 62 times.
Is evolution predictable?
An international team of scientists working with Heliconius butterflies at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama was faced with a mystery: how do pairs of unrelated butterflies from Peru to Costa Rica evolve nearly the same wing-color patterns over and over again?
Predicting evolution
A new method of 're-barcoding' DNA allows scientists to track rapid evolution in yeast.
Insect evolution: Insect evolution
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have shown that the incidence of midge and fly larvae in amber is far higher than previously thought.
Evolution of aesthetic dentistry
One of the main goals of dental treatment is to mimic teeth and design smiles in the most natural and aesthetic manner, based on the individual and specific needs of the patient.
An evolution in the understanding of evolution
In an open-source research paper, a UVA Engineering professor and her former Ph.D. student share a new, more accurate method for modeling evolutionary change.
Chemical evolution -- One-pot wonder
Before life, there was RNA: Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich show how the four different letters of this genetic alphabet could be created from simple precursor molecules on early Earth -- under the same environmental conditions.
Catching evolution in the act
Researchers have produced some of the first evidence that shows that artificial selection and natural selection act on the same genes, a hypothesis predicted by Charles Darwin in 1859.
More Evolution News and Evolution Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.