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Mycobacterium abscessus (Mab) is considered as the most pathogenic rapid-growing mycobacteria in humans, causing pulmonary and extra-pulmonary diseases, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis. Mab shows intrinsic and acquired resistance to many drugs, leaving limited treatment options that lead to a generally poor prognosis. The standard therapeutic regimen last for more than 6 months and consists of a drug cocktail that ideally includes a macrolide and amikacin. Yet, toxicity and efficacy are suboptimal due also to the high toxicity. There is a need to introduce innovative and out-of-the-box approaches to improve treatments. In this narrative review, we summarize the recent research on the alternative strategies proposed and discuss the importance of using appropriate experimental assays to assess their activity. Included articles were identified by searching PubMed and MEDLINE until June 2023. The search terms were 'Mycobacterium abscessus', 'antimicrobial', and 'alternative therapies'. Additional relevant references were obtained from articles retrieved from the primary search. Therapies against Mab including host directed therapies, repurposed drugs, phage therapy, anti-virulence strategies, essential oils, and inhalation therapies. Alternative treatments may represent a valid tool to cope the burden of antimicrobial resistance in Mab-caused diseases. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


Ivana Palucci, Giovanni Delogu. Alternative therapies against Mycobacterium abscessus infections. Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2024 Jun;30(6):732-737

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PMID: 37820951

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