What to take away?
Commonly hailed as one of the most important advances of the 20th century, antibiotics have saved millions of lives.
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They also had, however, a deleterious impact on microbiota:
- antibiotic-induced dysbiosis, which is associated with both short- and long-term health consequences;
- host-specific pool of antimicrobial resistance genes and organisms developing as a result of the misuse or overuse of antibiotics.
This points to the need for antibiotics to be handled with care, and that a more rational use of antibiotics be adopted.
What to do?
To prevent dysbiosis:
- adopting a more diverse diet, high in fiber: diet has a considerable influence on the composition of the intestinal microbiota;5
- using probiotics6: when administered in adequate amounts these live microorganisms (yeasts or bacteria) confer a definite health benefit on the host;7
- using prebiotics: substrates that are selectively utilized by host microorganisms and which thereby confer health benefits.8
To promote the reconstruction and the functionality of a dysbiotic microbiota:
- using probiotics (yeasts or bacteria) may be helpful;6
- considering fecal microbiota transplantation to treat recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection only.9
To combat antimicrobial resistance:
- explore phage therapy:10 phages, the natural predators of bacteria, were used to treat bacterial infections before the advent of antibiotics;
- investigate CRISPR-Cas9:11: these “molecular scissors” could be used to implement corrections to genes;
- consider nanomaterial-based therapies:12: the physical properties of certain nanomaterials endow them with the capability to target biofilms.