From collateral damage to collateral sensitivity

“Every disadvantage has an advantage” is one of the many brilliant quotes from the late Dutch philosopher Johan Cruijff. This now also seems to hold for antibiotic resistance. The conventional belief is that resistance development is unidirectional: pathogens cumulatively acquire resistance traits, until being a multidrug resistant superbug. This now seems not always true; resistance development to antibiotic A, may – at the same time – increase susceptibility to antibiotic B, a phenomenon called “collateral sensitivity” that may help us in treating chronic infections. Continue reading


Fear and hierarchy as drivers for antimicrobial prescribing

Surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis (SAP) is one of the areas of strength in the infection prevention literature: we have high quality evidence that it works, and evidence-based guidance on how to do it effectively. And yet, you don’t have to spend long in an operating theatre to see that it’s not always done according to local guidelines. So, why are these evidence-based guidelines for SAP not implemented effectively? A short review in the Journal of Hospital Infection highlights social factors, specifically fear and hierarchy, as important drivers of antimicrobial prescribing.

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No more antibiotics for animals

That’s what the WHO stated this week, and it was based on a study, in Lancet Planetary Health. In most news items that I saw animal antibiotic use was directly linked to human infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. A journalist even asked if eating meat was safe. Although most of us (including me) support reduction of unnecessary antibiotic use, it’s worth reading this excellent meta-analysis, initiated by WHO. Did this study answer the burning research question “to what extent does animal antibiotic use influence infections in humans?“ Continue reading

The antibiotic resistance crisis resolved by bacteriophages (part 2)

Earlier this week I blogged on the potential (yet poorly proven) effects of bacteriophages as salvage therapy for infections caused by AMR, and stated: “Phages and their active enzymes are proteins that evoke an immunological host response when injected, and up till now all attempts to circumvene those unwanted effects have failed.” Two recent case reports challenge part of that statement. Continue reading

The antibiotic resistance crisis resolved by bacteriophages

I am regularly asked why we don’t treat infections caused by multidrug resistant bacteria with bacteriophages. Last Friday, the same question made it to the best viewed talkshow on Dutch television (The World Turns On), and in about 10 minutes the global threat of antibiotic resistance was resolved. Here is how….  Continue reading

When quality improvement fails

In this weeks’ PhD journal club Darren Troeman discussed the paper “Effect of a multifaceted educational intervention for anti-infectious measures on sepsis mortality: a cluster randomized trial”.  The plan was to improve compliance with guidelines, thereby reducing time before start of antimicrobial therapy (AT) which should reduce 28-day mortality. The intervention was compared to conventional medical education. Disappointingly, the trial provided more lessons for trialists than for healthcare providers. Continue reading

How to predict ESBL (part 4)

Two months ago I provided an update on the ESBL-predict study that Tim Deelen from our group coordinates. In short: Every hospital in the world can participate, through a user-friendly electronic CRF (in a secured environment), in the validation of 2 scoring systems to predict that sepsis is caused by ESBL-producing bacteria. Only relevant for those of us that are not yet ready to start meropenem/amikacine for every patient that starts with antibiotics! This tool may help, …. if reliable. We passed the 3,000 episodes! Here is a short update and info for those that want to join. Continue reading