Researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal, have taken a step forward in understanding antibiotic resistance – a growing challenge in infectious disease treatment worldwide.
Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics through mutations, or by acquiring genes that allow them to resist antibiotic drugs.
Using mice, the researchers found that after taking antibiotics some resistant bacteria are quickly eliminated, while others survive much longer, depending on the host animal.
The study, at the IGC lab (pictured) revealed that the microbiota – microbes living in the gut – of each individual mouse determined the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the gut.
“Following other studies using non-animal models, the use of mice was the only possible path to understanding what mechanisms are happening in a real microbiome.”
“We need to study worldwide problems such as antibiotic resistance and these new findings have opened a path for potential new drugs that can improve and save human lives.”
Isabel Gordo, Principal Investigator in the Evolutionary Biology Lab, at Instituto Gulbenkian Ciência.