Authors: Daniel E. Kadouri and Nancy D. Connell (Rutgers University, NJ, USA)
We might have a problem. Our co-evolution with bacteria could be defined as a never-ending arms race between microbial virulence factors and our own immune system. Since the introduction of antibiotics some 70 years ago, the field initially tilted to our advantage. However, our overuse and misuse of antibiotics has placed selective pressure on bacteria to develop resistance to our miracle drugs and infectious bacterial disease has yet again become a serious global public health threat .
Among the more threatening bacteria in need of control are the Gram-negative bacteria, with their ability to exchange genetic material, including genes coding for drug resistance, and their double cell membrane that makes the delivery of new antibiotics into the cell extremely difficult. Even more challenging, the reluctance of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in antibiotic discovery has resulted in a current lapse in the antibiotic development pipeline.