(HealthNewsDigest.com) – A sneaky form of antibiotic resistance called “heteroresistance” is more widespread than previously appreciated, scientists at the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center report.
At the same time, tracking heteroresistance might guide the choice of antibiotic combinations that can defeat bacteria regarded as invincible, the researchers think. Combinations chosen in this way were effective in saving mice from otherwise lethal infections, but their efficacy in hospitalized patients needs to be demonstrated.
The results were published Monday, June 17 in Nature Microbiology.
Heteroresistance means that standard tests used in hospital labs would not always detect resistance to a given antibiotic, because only a small sub-population of the bacterial cells are resistant to the drug. But that sub-population quickly emerges and thrives, when that particular antibiotic is thrown at the bacterial infection, says David Weiss, PhD, director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center and associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Emory University School of Medicine, Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
“We can think of heteroresistance as bacteria that are ‘half resistant’,” Weiss says. “When you take the antibiotic away, the resistant cells go back to being just a small part of the group. That’s why they’re hard to see in the tests that hospitals usually use.”
Full story at news.emory.edu >>