Phage–Antibiotic Synergy Inhibited by Temperate and Chronic Virus Competition

Kylie J. Landa, Lauren M. Mossman, Rachel J. Whitaker, Zoi Rapti, Sara M. Clifton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As antibiotic resistance grows more frequent for common bacterial infections, alternative treatment strategies such as phage therapy have become more widely studied in the medical field. While many studies have explored the efficacy of antibiotics, phage therapy, or synergistic combinations of phages and antibiotics, the impact of virus competition on the efficacy of antibiotic treatment has not yet been considered. Here, we model the synergy between antibiotics and two viral types, temperate and chronic, in controlling bacterial infections. We demonstrate that while combinations of antibiotic and temperate viruses exhibit synergy, competition between temperate and chronic viruses inhibits bacterial control with antibiotics. In fact, our model reveals that antibiotic treatment may counterintuitively increase the bacterial load when a large fraction of the bacteria are antibiotic resistant, and both chronic and temperate phages are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriophage
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Evasion
  • Infection
  • Latent
  • Lytic
  • Mathematical model
  • Phage
  • Population dynamics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Recovery
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Pharmacology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics


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