Key points from article :
Sequential treatment using similar antibiotics but swapped frequently is an effective way to kill bacteria and prevent drug resistance.
The team used Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), which can cause pneumonia and other infections in humans.
Tested 3 antibiotics and measured their potency at killing off different sub-populations of bacterial cells.
Treated with the most potent sequence of β-lactam antibiotics: carbenicillin, doripenem and cefsulodin.
Fast switching between antibiotics constrained the bacteria's ability to adapt to the drugs.
Bacterial growth during a switch to doripenem was much lower.
Spontaneous development of resistance was much lower for doripenem.
There was also less cross-resistance towards this drug than the other two antibiotics.
"...could be used as a guiding principle for sequential treatments and could improve the potency of sequential protocols," - Hinrich Schulenburg, senior author.
Study by University of Kiel published in eLife.