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Differential in vitro activity of individual drugs and bedaquiline-rifabutin combinations against actively multiplying and nutrient-starved Mycobacterium abscessus

By Jin Lee, Nicole Ammerman, Anusha Agarwal, Maram Naji, Si-Yang Li, Eric Nuermberger

Posted 15 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.14.340422 (published DOI: 10.1128/AAC.02179-20)

Current treatment options for lung disease caused by Mycobacterium abscessus complex infections have limited effectiveness. To maximize the use of existing antibacterials and to help inform regimen design for treatment, we assessed the in vitro bactericidal activity of single drugs against actively multiplying and net non-replicating M. abscessus populations in nutrient-rich and nutrient starvation conditions, respectively. As single drugs, bedaquiline and rifabutin exerted bactericidal activity only against nutrient-starved and actively growing < M. abscessus , respectively. However, when combined, both bedaquiline and rifabutin were able to specifically contribute bactericidal activity at relatively low, clinically relevant concentrations against both replicating and non-replicating bacterial populations. The addition of a third drug, amikacin, further enhanced the bactericidal activity of the bedaquiline-rifabutin combination against nutrient-starved M. abscessus . Overall, these in vitro data suggest that bedaquiline-rifabutin may be a potent backbone combination to support novel treatment regimens for M. abscessus infections. This rich dataset of differential time- and concentration-dependent activity of drugs, alone and together, against M. abscessus also highlights several issues affecting interpretation and translation of in vitro findings.

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