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Beyond killing: can we find new ways to manage infection?

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Foundation for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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http://emph.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/03/25/emph.eow012
Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolution, Medicine, & Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2016

Abstract

The antibiotic pipeline is running dry and infectious disease remains a major threat to public health. An efficient strategy to stay ahead of rapidly adapting pathogens should include approaches that replace, complement, or enhance the effect of both current and novel antimicrobial compounds. In recent years, a number of innovative approaches managing disease without the aid of traditional antibiotics and without eliminating the pathogens directly have emerged. These include disabling pathogen virulence-factors, increasing host tissue damage control, or altering the microbiota to provide colonisation resistance, immune resistance or disease tolerance against pathogens. We discuss the therapeutic potential of these approaches and examine their possible consequences for pathogen evolution. To guarantee a longer half-life of these alternatives to directly killing pathogens, and to gain a full understanding of their population-level consequences, we encourage future work to incorporate evolutionary perspectives into the development of these treatments.

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