Acinetobacter Baumannii

About Superbugs

Acinetobacter baumannii is an emerging pathogen with widespread antibiotic resistance. It is a gram-negative coccobacillus and is considered one of the most difficult to control and treat drug-resistant gram-negative bacilli. A. baumannii is capable of long-term survival in a variety of environmental conditions. It causes infections including bacteremia, pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections, and wound infections.

A. baumannii has been labeled a "critical threat" pathogen and is the number one priority pathogen on the World Health Organization's (WHO) list of global priority pathogens for combating antibiotic resistance.

About Superbugs
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus

Antibiotic Resistance

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae

Treatment Options



Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter infection

One of the most successful pathogens causing hospital-acquired infections in modern health care systems.

  • A. baumannii is responsible for opportunistic infections of the skin, blood, urinary tract and other soft tissues.
  • Most of these infections occur in critically ill patients.
  • Common diseases include pneumonia, urinary tract, severe blood or wound infections, and sepsis.

Antibiotic Resistance

More than half of all A. baumannii infections are multi-drug resistant. A. baumannii has multiple mechanisms of resistance, including antimicrobial inactivating enzymes, reduced access to bacterial targets, and mutations that alter target or cellular function. First, A. baumannii species possess a broad spectrum of β-lactamases that hydrolyze penicillins, cephalosporins, and carbapenems and confer resistance to them. Second, loss of pore protein channels and other outer membrane proteins as well as efflux pumps can make it difficult for antimicrobial agents to reach bacterial targets. Finally, A. baumannii can acquire resistance genes from other organisms, and mutations leading to resistance can develop over time.

Resistance to Beta-Lactams

Penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, monobactams, and beta-lactamase inhibitors

Resistance to Aminoglycosides

Amikacin, kanamycin, and tobramycin

Resistance to Tetracyclines

Tigecyline, minocycline, and tetracycline

Resistance to Fluoroquinolones

The hydrophilic fluoroquinolones, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin

Resistance to Macrolides—Lincosamides—Streptogramin Antibiotics

Azithromycin, lincomycin, clindamycin, and pirlimycin

Resistance to Polymyxins

Polymyxins B and E

Treatment Options

Prospective Treatment Options

Antibiotic therapy

Carbapenems are effective antibiotics for the treatment of A. baumannii infections, but there has been a progressive increase in the rate of resistance to carbapenems in A. baumannii. Only a few effective antibiotic options are available for the treatment of drug-resistant A. baumannii infections. Against extensively resistant A. baumannii, combination antibiotic therapies can now be investigated and applied.

Non-antibiotic therapy

  • Phage therapy
  • Antibody therapy
  • Targeted quorum sensing therapy

Despite being known for its relatively low virulence, multi-drug resistant A. baumannii infections pose a significant threat to patients. Due to the increasing clinical importance of A. baumannii, the number of studies on A. baumannii is increasing dramatically. As our current arsenal of antimicrobial drugs becomes less effective in treating A. baumannii infections, there is increasing pressure to find new targets for new therapies to address incurable bacterial infections.

In short, we need to discover new classes of antibiotics. We can successfully control A. baumannii infections if we continue to make every effort to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics and develop novel antibiotics. At Ace Therapeutics, we discuss some new therapeutic approaches that deserve further study. We look forward to having you on board to develop the next generation of antimicrobial treatments for A. baumannii.


  1. Lee C-R, et al. Biology of Acinetobacter baumannii: Pathogenesis, Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms, and Prospective Treatment Options. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 2017,7:55.
  2. Kyriakidis I, et al. Acinetobacter baumannii Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms. Pathogens, 2021, 10, 373.
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