About this Research Topic
One of the global challenges faced by the mankind is the rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among bacterial pathogens. The biggest concern is imposed by the ‘ESKAPE’ pathogens comprising of highly multi-, extended- or pan-drug resistant strains such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are multi-drug resistant, including resistance to carbapenems; and Enterobacter spp., which contain ESBLs and carbapenemases. These pathogens cause a large number of infections, both in clinical and community settings, with limited therapy options. The efficiency of clearance of these pathogens is also hampered by the formation of biofilms, which obstruct the contact of cells with antimicrobials and host defence mechanisms.
With the looming AMR problem, there is an urgent need for new antimicrobials. It is unlikely, however, that the pharmaceutical industry would be capable of fulfilling this demand, especially for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Besides, it becomes clear that the conventional antimicrobial drug discovery strategies have to be reconsidered and new avenues have to be explored.
Remedies of the traditional medicine that have been in use for millennia are still insufficiently explored for their active constituents. Secondary plants metabolites (e.g., flavonoids, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides, alkaloids etc.), have been found to possess multiple pharmacological activities. Also, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and microbial derivatives have been proved to play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. There is a growing interest in re-implementation of phage therapy, which has been abandoned in the antibiotic era, for the management of multidrug resistant infections. Other areas may include a targeted approach, at the specific pathogen level, with the aim of inactivation of virulence factors thus rendering pathogens harmless to the host.
The aim of this Research Topic is to expose the most significant challenges imposed by the ESKAPE pathogens to humankind and propose potential solutions to deal with this threat. Contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- surveillance and epidemiology of ESKAPE pathogens in clinical and non-clinical settings;
- development of express diagnostics;
- horizontal gene transfer in ESKAPE pathogens;
- biofilm formation by ESKAPE pathogens;
- solutions to overcome their AMR;
- aspects of resistance-virulence relationship in ESKAPE pathogens;
- update on physical, chemical (natural/synthetic) and biological (antimicrobial / anti-biofilm and anti-pathogenic) strategies to control the ESKAPE pathogens.
Keywords: genetic resistance versus biofilms’ tolerance, antimicrobials, ESKAPE pathogens, resistance - virulence -relationship, non-clinical resistance reservoirs
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