A new study conducted by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) has provided valuable insights into the interactions between different drugs and their effects on antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. The study, published in Nature Microbiology, systematically profiled over 10,000 drug combinations to assess their effectiveness against common multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to global public health, with millions of deaths attributed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year. However, previous studies have primarily focused on specific drug combinations, lacking systematic knowledge of how different classes of antibiotics or combinations of antibiotics and non-antibiotic drugs impact bacterial physiology.
The research team, led by Elisabetta Cacace from EMBL Heidelberg, aimed to address this gap in knowledge. Using a sophisticated robotics setup, they simultaneously studied the effects of hundreds of drug combinations on three representative species of Gram-positive bacteria – Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The study identified over a thousand interactions, including both synergistic and antagonistic effects. These interactions were highly species- and strain-specific and differed from those observed in Gram-negative bacteria. The researchers also validated some of these findings in vivo by infecting moth larvae with the pathogen and testing specific drug combinations for their ability to aid in recovery.
The results of this study have been made openly available for other scientists to explore and use, providing a valuable resource for future research in this field. The scale of the study and the insights gained from it have the potential to inform new strategies and treatments against antimicrobial resistance, which is urgently needed in the face of the challenges associated with developing new antibiotics.
Overall, this study significantly contributes to our understanding of how drugs interact with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and provides a foundation for further investigations into alternative solutions for bacterial infections.
– Nature Microbiology
– European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)