Impact of antibiotics on gut microbiome composition and resistome in the first years of life in low- to middle-income countries: A systematic review

  29 June 2023

Inappropriate antimicrobial usage is a key driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are disproportionately burdened by AMR and young children are especially vulnerable to infections with AMR-bearing pathogens. The impact of antibiotics on the microbiome, selection, persistence, and horizontal spread of AMR genes is insufficiently characterized and understood in children in LMICs. This systematic review aims to collate and evaluate the available literature describing the impact of antibiotics on the infant gut microbiome and resistome in LMICs.

In this study, we observed that antibiotics significantly reduce the diversity and alter the composition of the infant gut microbiome in LMICs, while concomitantly selecting for resistance genes whose persistence can last for months following treatment. Considerable heterogeneity in study methodology, timing and duration of sampling, and sequencing methodology in currently available research limit insights into antibiotic impacts on the microbiome and resistome in children in LMICs. More research is urgently needed to fill this gap in order to better understand whether antibiotic-driven reductions in microbiome diversity and selection of AMR genes place LMIC children at risk for adverse health outcomes, including infections with AMR-bearing pathogens.

Further reading: PLOS Medicine
Author(s): Charlie C. Luchen et al
Kids and Carers  


Unrestricted financial support by:


Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition

Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre



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