Phage-antibiotic synergy inhibited by temperate and chronic virus competition

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Lauren Mossman, Kylie Landa

St.Olaf College
"Phage-antibiotic synergy inhibited by temperate and chronic virus competition"
As antibiotic resistance grows more frequent for common bacterial infections, alternative treatment strategies such as phage therapy have become more widely studied in the medical field. While many studies have explored the efficacy of antibiotics, phage therapy, or synergistic combinations of antibiotics and phage, the impact of virus competition on the efficacy of antibiotic treatment has not yet been considered. Here, we model the synergy between antibiotics and two viral types, temperate and chronic, in controlling bacterial infections. We demonstrate that while combinations of antibiotic and temperate viruses exhibit synergy, competition between temperate and chronic viruses inhibits bacterial control with antibiotics. In fact, our model reveals that antibiotic treatment counterintuitively increases the bacterial load when a large fraction of the bacteria develop antibiotic-resistance.
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