Bacteria have a remarkable capacity to evolve and adapt. This, coupled with the relentless selection pressure due to increasing use of antibiotics, had led to the prediction that we are now rapidly approaching the end of the antibiotic era. We can still buy a little time by continuing with the traditional approach of using antibiotics designed to inhibit bacterial growth directly. However, for long-term success radical new ideas for combating infectious diseases are required. One such will be briefly explored here: in order to destroy a bacterium, it is helpful to think like a bacterium.
In an anthropomorphic sense, a bacterium has many of the same aspirations as a human being. Some of these are especially appropriate to the present discussion:
. somewhere to stay
. enough to eat
. a chance to breed freely
. the ability to give one’s offspring the best chances in life
. avoiding natural disasters and troublesome neighbours
. being able to exert a decisive effect at points distant from one’s own location.
Clin Microbiol Infect 1998; 4: 177-178