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A new paper by Pedro Vale ponders alternatives to killing pathogens with antibiotics

10.05.2016 15:50

The antibiotic pipeline is running dry and infectious disease remains a major threat to public health. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health has published a paper on innovative approaches to manage disease without traditional antibiotics. The paper was led by Branco Weiss fellow Pedro Vale, and included contributions from world leaders in the fields of microbial evolution, immunity and infectious diseases.

An efficient strategy to stay ahead of rapidly adapting pathogens should include approaches that replace, complement, or enhance the effect of both current and novel antimicrobial compounds. In recent years, a number of innovative approaches managing disease without the aid of traditional antibiotics and without eliminating the pathogens directly have emerged. These include disabling pathogen virulence-factors, increasing host tissue damage control, or altering the microbiota to provide colonisation resistance, immune resistance or disease tolerance against pathogens. The paper discusses the therapeutic potential of these approaches and examine their possible consequences for pathogen evolution. To guarantee a longer half-life of these alternatives to directly killing pathogens, and to gain a full understanding of their population-level consequences, the authors encourage future work to incorporate evolutionary perspectives into the development of these treatments.

Read the paper here.