About this Research Topic
Antibiotic resistance is among the 10 urgent threats that World Health Organization (WHO) listed for 2019. Misuse of antibiotics in agriculture, food production and especially among humans and animals is the predominant factor of the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, which might further lead to deaths from infections worldwide.
More specifically, in the European Union, attributable deaths due to antimicrobial resistant microorganisms were estimated to be 33,110 per year. At the same time, it is now easier to isolate and characterize antimicrobial resistant bacteria in clinical settings or in the environment. In 2017, WHO described the most critical multidrug resistant bacteria for which novel therapeutics are urgently needed. Without surprise they belonged to the already known group named ESKAPE – (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter spp.) and Escherichia coli, which causes most of the healthcare-associated infections nowadays, with other bacteria that are also responsible of community-based infections, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and E. coli.
Antibiotics can select resistant bacteria, that emerged after a spontaneous mutation or after acquiring resistance genes through horizontal transfer mediated by mobile genetic elements. This selection can occur in both human and non-human gastrointestinal tract, as well as in the contaminated environment. Once they become resistant to antibiotics, bacteria can spread resistance either clonally by disseminating itself or by transferring resistance genes to other bacteria mostly through plasmids.
Bacteria may grow planktonically, but most often in nature or in human body infections they form biofilms. These biofilms are common in the hospital environment, especially on polymeric clinical devices, such as the catheters and cardiac pacemakers. Biofilms are of great importance in infection control and in treatment of healthcare-associated infections owing to their inherent tolerance and ‘resistance’ to antimicrobial therapies. In addition, they constitute a great challenge in clinical settings, since there is no ‘gold standard’ available to reveal the presence of microbial biofilms.
The prevention of the spread of bacterial resistance is a great challenge among health-care professionals, especially in hospital settings. Surveillance of clones and lineages, spread in a hospital environment or among patients, as well as the knowledge of their susceptibility to antimicrobials are crucial data to initiate a proper empiric treatment of hospital-acquired infections.
In many cases, precision medicine is the key to therapy, since different microbes are prone to different remedies. New antimicrobials might seem more effective and promising, but some traditional compounds - such as beta-lactamase inhibitors or efflux pump inhibitors– that could prevent enzymatic action on known antibiotics or efflux pump activity, respectively, are also beneficial.
This Research Topic encourages the collection of original research articles, method articles, protocols, and reviews that examine antimicrobial resistance containment and control, in human populations and related ecological reservoirs, as well as articles that introduce novel methods to address them. We are especially interested in manuscripts that consider or attempt to apply new bacterial-resistance mechanisms, explore newly discovered anti-biofilm or antimicrobial agents, as well as their mode of action in bacteria and/or surveillance studies of multidrug-resistant, extensively drug-resistant and pan-drug resistant bacteria.
Keywords: Bacterial mechanism of resistance, Biofilm, Antimicrobial agent, molecular epidemiology, multidrug resistance
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.