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  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a major global health issue.
  • Researchers have found that as some bacteria develop resistance to one antibiotic, they can develop sensitivity to another at the same time.
  • Switching between these antibiotics may be one way of responding to growing antibiotic resistance.
  • However, the researchers behind the present study show that very few bacteria operate in this way, suggesting that antibiotic cycling has a limited value.

In a new study, researchers have shown that antibiotic cycling — which involves doctors switching between antibiotics to overcome antibiotic resistance — may be an ineffective and unsustainable strategy.

However, in their study, which appears in The Lancet Microbe, the researchers did find that some subpopulations of bacteria may be appropriate for antibiotic cycling, in limited cases.