The understanding of microbial resistance to the beta-lactam class of antibiotics in the form of beta-lactamases has come a long way since the early discoveries of narrow-spectrum penicillinases. Integron-borne beta-lactamases co-occurring with a wide array of non-beta-lactam resistance genes, particularly pose an increasing threat to the nosocomial environment, giving rise to multi-drug resistant microbes with complex resistance patterns. Selection of potent beta-lactamases through the use of non-beta-lactam agents may be possible through integron-mediated resistance. It has become imperative that we should continuously strive to understand these complex mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, not only to overcome them, but to avoid them from evolving further.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.