How do you prevent development of antibiotic resistance when suffering from tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis bacilli grow slowly, and grow inside human cells[1] . Slow growth tends to make bacteria intrinsically less susceptible to antibiotics, and being inside a host cell makes it more difficult to achieve a high, therapeutically-effective dose of an antibiotic. To add to the challenge, resistance to some of the most effective anti-TB antibiotics (like rifampin) Read More …

Is natural genetic mutation within a bacteria within an infected host the most likely origin of an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria?

As with all things biological, it depends. Some antibiotics, like rifampicin and chloramphenicol, readily give rise to spontaneous resistance mutations. These drugs target transcription and translation, respectively, and alterations of a single nucleotide in the bacterial genome can confer resistance. Since point mutations like these arise spontaneously at about one per million bacteria, there are Read More …

Genius MIT researchers propose feeding bacteria to fight infections

No, this is not a joke. Well, the “genius” part is, but the “feeding bacteria to fight infections” is not. I saw this press release in IDSA’s Twitter feed. I read it and wondered anew at the reality disconnect between academic research and clinical application. The gist of the story is that non-growing bacteria are Read More …

Do we need more broad-spectrum antibiotics? NAD-dependent DNA ligases as drug targets.

These enzymes are excellent targets for antibiotic development. But successful development may end up degrading public health. DNA ligases perform an essential function in all organisms, that of joining broken DNA strands together. From DNA ligation They can use either ATP or NAD+ as energy sources to drive the joining reaction. NAD ligases are never found in Read More …

What is the potential of antivirulence antimicrobial therapy?

The most likely future for antivirulence therapies is that they become adjuncts rather than alternatives to antibiotic therapy. That’s the case for one of the first modern antivirulence therapies, bezlotoxumab (Zinplava) for prevention of recurrent C. difficile infections. Bezlotoxumab targets one of the toxins produced by C. diff, rather than the bug itself. It was shown to lower the recurrence Read More …

My roommate is colonized with MRSA. How contagious is he, and what should I do to ensure that I do not get it?

The good news is that your risk of getting a MRSA infection due to living with a MRSA carrier is not high. It’s not zero, either, but it’s not high. The bad news is that we really don’t know how MRSA is transmitted within households, and thus we don’t know how to prevent it. The Read More …

What would the CDC or the government do if there was a massive outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant disease?

If there was indeed a massive outbreak of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, the government and CDC would do little or nothing. Why? Because they no longer function in any recognizable form. A severe outbreak of bacterial disease could only happen if these institutions have collapsed. Antibiotics are not critical to keeping society safe from bacterial Read More …