A New Twist: The Combination of Sulbactam/Avibactam Enhances Sulbactam Activity against Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) Isolates

Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 May 13;10(5):577. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10050577.


An increasing number of untreatable infections are recorded every year. Many studies have focused their efforts on developing new β-lactamase inhibitors to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) isolates. In the present study, sulbactam/avibactam and sulbactam/relebactam combination were tested against 187 multi-drug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter clinical isolates; both sulbactam/avibactam and sulbactam/relebactam restored sulbactam activity. A decrease ≥2 dilutions in sulbactam MICs was observed in 89% of the isolates when tested in combination with avibactam. Sulbactam/relebactam was able to restore sulbactam susceptibility in 40% of the isolates. In addition, the susceptibility testing using twenty-three A. baumannii AB5075 knockout strains revealed potential sulbactam and/or sulbactam/avibactam target genes. We observed that diazabicyclooctanes (DBOs) β-lactamase inhibitors combined with sulbactam restore sulbactam susceptibility against carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter clinical isolates. However, relebactam was not as effective as avibactam when combined with sulbactam. Exploring novel combinations may offer new options to treat Acinetobacter spp. infections, especially for widespread oxacillinases and metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) producers.

Keywords: Acinetobacter; avibactam; carbapenem-resistance; relebactam; sulbactam.