Antibiotic resistance has made HAI-associated bacteria more resilient

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been thought to grow slowly, indicating the development of genes associated with resistance impacted other processes within the bacteria. However, new research shows antibiotic-resistant bacteria processes are not only unimpeded by their resistance to antibiotics, but they are also stronger because of it.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston exposed mice to various strains of a bacterium that causes a range of infections in those with weakened immune systems. Certain strains of the bacterium contained antibiotic-resistant genes, the same kind once thought to hinder the microbes. In this instance, the antibiotic-resistant strains were better than non-resistant strains at infecting the mice.

Resistant strains of bacteria that cause Acinetobacter baumannii, which is a known driver of hospital-acquired infections, were also better-equipped at infecting mice than those without resistant genes.

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