The development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be effectively hindered with a combination and sequence of antibiotics, says a new study.
A novel mathematical method, inspired by Darwinian evolution, to use current antibiotics to eliminate or reduce the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been developed by the researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida.
Nearly 2 million people in the US become infected with bacteria that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics each year.
The researchers showed that the ability of the bacterium E. coli to survive in antibiotics could be either promoted or hindered depending on the sequence of antibiotics given.
The researchers found that 70 percent of different sequences of 2 to 4 antibiotics lead to resistance to the final drug.
"Our results suggest that, through careful ordering of antibiotics, we may be able to steer evolution to a dead end from which resistance cannot emerge," said lead author Daniel Nichol from Moffitt.
Different combinations or sequence of antibiotics can be used to fight antibiotic-resistant infections. However, there are many antibiotics and it would be extremely difficult to experimentally identify the best combination or sequence of drugs.
Moffitt researchers overcame this problem by developing a novel mathematical approach to analyze antibiotic resistance.
"Our results can be easily tested in the laboratory, and if validated could be used in clinical trials immediately, as all of the compounds we studied are FDA-approved and commonly prescribed," said senior study author Jacob G. Scott.
The researchers concluded that their discovery could serve as a caution to healthcare workers, as random prescription of drugs could lead to antibiotic resistance.