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Minimizing Potential Resistance: The Molecular View: A Comment on Courvalin and Trieu-Cuot

David C. Hooper
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Vol. 33, Supplement 3. Maximizing Antimicrobial Efficacy/Minimizing Antimicrobial Resistance: A Paradigm for the New Millennium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 7-8 December 1999 (Sep. 15, 2001), pp. S157-S160
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4461742
Page Count: 4
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Minimizing Potential Resistance: The Molecular View: A Comment on Courvalin and Trieu-Cuot
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Abstract

The complexity of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents is driven by the interplay of many mechanistic and epidemiologic factors. Mechanistically, resistance by target alteration, reduced permeation, and drug inactivation can occur by both chromosomal mutation and acquisition of new genetic elements. Epidemiologically, exposure to antimicrobial agents provides a growth or persistence advantage for any existing resistant bacteria, generally irrespective of the mechanism. When a single chromosomal mutation is sufficient to cause resistance, any such exposure provides a risk of selection, as long as a sufficiently large bacterial population is exposed. Transmission of resistant bacteria can also amplify resistance of any type, but it is particularly important for complex resistance mechanisms that have evolved over time and for mechanisms that depend on infrequent biological events in nature. Because true biological barriers to the development of resistance are likely to be elusive, multiple approaches that address both the use of antimicrobial agents and transmission are necessary to slow the advance of resistance.

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