Nav: Home

Bacteria-infecting viruses exacerbate chronic infections in cystic fibrosis

April 17, 2019

A study of samples from 92 patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) has revealed that certain bacteriophages - viruses that infect bacteria - worsen the severity of bacterial infections associated with the disorder. The results indicate that these viruses could be a major contributor to poorer clinical outcomes in CF, as well as a potential target for new therapies aimed at easing infections in patients. One of the most common causes of chronic bacterial infections in patients with CF is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterial species that is well-adapted to the human airways and often resists antibiotic treatment. Researchers have observed that filamentous bacteriophages (Pf phages) can exacerbate the severity of P. aeruginosa infections in animal models, but it is unclear whether Pf phages play a role in human disease. Seeking further insight, Elizabeth Burgener and colleagues analyzed bacterial genomes in sputum samples from two groups of patients with CF, and discovered that nine of 34 patients in the first group and 21 of 58 patients in the second group consistently harbored Pf phages. In both cohorts, patients were typically older than those without Pf phages, and in the larger, second cohort, patients were more likely to suffer from chronic P. aeruginosa infections and poorer lung function. Furthermore, phage-carrying P. aeruginosa from the second patient group were more resistant to the standard antibiotics aztreonam, amikacin and meropenem. The authors found the crystalline structure of the phages captured these antibiotics and prevented their diffusion, potentially explaining their decreased effectiveness. As such, future studies should investigate additional mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. The authors say that if the findings are validated in larger studies and independent cohorts, a diagnostic test for the presence of Pf phage may have future implications for clinical care.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Antibiotics Articles:

Resistance can spread even without the use of antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance does not spread only where and when antibiotics are used in large quantities, ETH researchers conclude from laboratory experiments.
Selective antibiotics following nature's example
Chemists from Konstanz develop selective agents to combat infectious diseases -- based on the structures of natural products
Antibiotics can inhibit skin lymphoma
New research from the LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center at the University of Copenhagen shows, surprisingly, that antibiotics inhibit cancer in the skin in patients with rare type of lymphoma.
Antibiotics may treat endometriosis
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that treating mice with an antibiotic reduces the size of lesions caused by endometriosis.
How antibiotics help spread resistance
Bacteria can become insensitive to antibiotics by picking up resistance genes from the environment.
Overuse of antibiotics not what the doctor ordered
With increased use of antibiotics worldwide linked to growing antibiotic resistance, a world-first study co-authored by a QUT researcher has highlighted the growing impact of non-prescription supply of antibiotics in community pharmacies, and the urgent need for better enforcement of laws.
Bacterial armor could be a new target for antibiotics
Boosting efforts to fight antibiotic resistance, Stanford researchers have found that a thin membrane, thought to be just a shrink wrap around some bacterial cell walls, has structural properties critical for survival.
Combining antibiotics changes their effectiveness
The effectiveness of antibiotics can be altered by combining them with each other, non-antibiotic drugs or even with food additives.
Perception that antibiotics are harmless is widespread
A new study of decision-making about the use of antibiotics in medicine has found that the mistaken belief that antibiotics are harmless is widespread, especially among patients.
Complementing conventional antibiotics
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major medical problem worldwide, impacting both human health and economic well-being.
More Antibiotics News and Antibiotics Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.