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Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) are a major cause of neonatal sepsis in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 80% of these sepsis deaths could be prevented through improved treatment, the efficacy of the currently recommended first- and second-line treatment regimens for this condition is increasingly affected by high rates of drug resistance. Here we assess three well known antibiotics, fosfomycin, flomoxef and amikacin, in combination as potential antibiotic treatment regimens by investigating the drug resistance and genetic profiles of commonly isolated GNB causing neonatal sepsis in LMICs. The five most prevalent bacterial isolates in the NeoOBS study (NCT03721302) are Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, E. coli, Serratia marcescens and Enterobacter cloacae complex. Among these isolates, high levels of ESBL and carbapenemase encoding genes are detected along with resistance to ampicillin, gentamicin and cefotaxime, the current WHO recommended empiric regimens. The three new combinations show excellent in vitro activity against ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae and E. coli isolates. Our data should further inform and support the clinical evaluation of these three antibiotic combinations for the treatment of neonatal sepsis in areas with high rates of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Neonatal Sepsis, Infant, Newborn, Gram-Negative Bacteria, Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections, Acinetobacter baumannii, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Amikacin, Fosfomycin, beta-Lactamases, Escherichia coli, Developing Countries, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial, Drug Therapy, Combination, Serratia marcescens, Enterobacter cloacae, Bacterial Proteins