The Paradox of Chronic Infections – Kim Lewis
What processes take place in a bacteria population under antibiotic treatment? What important discovery made during World War II was forgotten? How can we circumvent the protection mechanisms used by bacteria populations? Professor of Biology at Northeastern University Kim Lewis explains the significance of a rediscovered phenomenon.
Northeastern University researchers have found that the bacterium that causes Lyme disease forms dormant persister cells, which are known to evade antibiotics. This significant finding, they said, could help explain why it’s so difficult to treat the infection in some patients.
Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating Lyme disease –
“This is the first time, we think, that pulse-dosing has been published as a method for eradicating the population of a pathogen with antibiotics that don’t kill dormant cells,” Lewis said. “The trick to doing this is to allow the dormant cells to wake up.”
He added: “This gives you an idea that you could, in principle, establish a similar regiment for treating patients for this and other chronic diseases.”
Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, forms drug-tolerant persister cells.
Bijaya Sharma, Autumn V. Brown, Nicole E. Matluck, Linden T. Hu and Kim Lewis
Uncultured Bacteria – Kim Lewis