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The Arms Race Against Bacteria

Marcos Pires, PhD, assistant professor at Lehigh University, discusses the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Marcos Pires, PhD, assistant professor at Lehigh University, discusses the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“One question that is [on] everyone’s mind when we think about coming up with new antimicrobial strategies is the propensity for the development of resistance, and that could come about from misuse [or] overuse of a particular therapy. I think it’s fair to say that any therapy that gets overused will likely fall prey to the same idea that, at the end of the day, any antimicrobial therapy is inherently putting a selective pressure, and only the strongest members of that population (in this case bacteria) will survive.

I think we have to start thinking about drug resistance as something that is just part of the process. It’s not to discourage drug discovery and development; it’s to think about if we can diversify the portfolio of drugs that we have, then we have more chances to go after an infection.

That proves to be the case during the 1960's, 70's, and even early 80's: when we had a number of antibiotics that were all active, drug resistance really wasn’t an issue. So, I think it is a question of numbers; if we can get enough different drugs with unique mechanisms of action, I think we can win this arms race against bacteria.”