Perseverant bacteria challenge antibacterial treatment

  05 January 2023

Bacterial perseverance is a new phenomenon that helps explain how bacteria adapt to survive antibiotic treatments. A group of researchers at Uppsala University have studied how individual bacteria react when exposed to different antibiotics. The result underlines the importance of adhering strictly to antibiotic prescriptions.

Fighting bacterial diseases is a perpetual arms race between medical scientists developing new therapeutics and the pathogenic bacteria continuously changing their genetic makeup to survive the drugs.

When antibacterial treatment is initiated, the high concentration of antibiotics kills most bacteria or stops them from growing almost immediately. The patient often feels better after just a few days of treatment, but the rapid recovery can be treacherous. A group of Uppsala researchers has shown that a small fraction of the bacteria often continues to grow, sometimes up to 10 generations.

Further reading: Uppsala University
Author(s): Uppsala University
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