The potential impact of coinfection on antimicrobial chemotherapy and drug resistance

Ruthie B. Birger, Roger D. Kouyos, Ted Cohen, Emily C. Griffiths, Silvie Huijben, Michael Mina, Victoriya Volkova, Bryan Grenfell, C. Jessica E. Metcalf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Across a range of pathogens, resistance to chemotherapy is a growing problem in both public health and animal health. Despite the ubiquity of coinfection, and its potential effects on within-host biology, the role played by coinfecting pathogens on the evolution of resistance and efficacy of antimicrobial chemotherapy is rarely considered. In this review, we provide an overview of the mechanisms of interaction of coinfecting pathogens, ranging from immune modulation and resource modulation, to drug interactions. We discuss their potential implications for the evolution of resistance, providing evidence in the rare cases where it is available. Overall, our review indicates that the impact of coinfection has the potential to be considerable, suggesting that this should be taken into account when designing antimicrobial drug treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-544
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


  • Coinfection
  • Drug resistance
  • Immune modulation
  • Parasite interactions
  • Resource competition


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