Beyond killing: Can we find new ways to manage infection?
Vale PF., McNally L., Doeschl-Wilson A., King KC., Popat R., Domingo-Sananes MR., Allen JE., Soares MP., Kümmerli R.
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 to manage 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 colonization 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.