Phage–antibiotic combinations: a promising approach to constrain resistance evolution in bacteria
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Antibiotic resistance has reached dangerously high levels throughout the world. A growing number of bacteria pose an urgent, serious, and concerning threat to public health. Few new antibiotics are available to clinicians and only few are in development, highlighting the need for new strategies to overcome the antibiotic resistance crisis. Combining existing antibiotics with phages, viruses the infect bacteria, is an attractive and promising alternative to standalone therapies. Phage-antibiotic combinations have been shown to suppress the emergence of resistance in bacteria, and sometimes even reverse it. Here, we discuss the mechanisms by which phage-antibiotic combinations reduce resistance evolution, and the potential limitations these mechanisms have in steering microbial resistance evolution in a desirable direction. We also emphasize the importance of gaining a better understanding of mechanisms behind physiological and evolutionary phage-antibiotic interactions in complex in-patient environments.
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