In Vitro Activity of Two Cefepime-Based Novel Combinations, Cefepime/Taniborbactam and Cefepime/Zidebactam, against Carbapenemase-Expressing Enterobacterales Collected in India

Yamuna Devi Bakthavatchalam, Divyaa Elangovan, Subha Vajjiravelu Jaganathan, Nivedhana Subburaju, Abirami Shankar, Yuvasri Manokaran, Sudarsana J., Rema Devi, Sujata Baveja, Sheela Devi, Jayakumar S., Sanjay Bhattacharya, Rudresh S. M., Bineshlal Yesudhason, Vignesh Shetty, Ankur Mutreja, Abi Manesh, George M. Varghese, Charis A. Marwick, Benjamin J. ParcellIan H. Gilbert, Balaji Veeraraghavan (Lead / Corresponding author)

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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In recent times, discovery efforts for novel antibiotics have mostly targeted carbapenemase-producing Gram-negative organisms. Two different combination approaches are pertinent: b-lactam-b-lactamase inhibitor (BL/BLI) or b-lactam-b-lactam enhancer (BL/ BLE). Cefepime combined with a BLI, taniborbactam, or with a BLE, zidebactam, has been shown to be promising. In this study, we determined the in vitro activity of both these agents along with comparators against multicentric carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE). Nonduplicate CPE isolates of Escherichia coli (n = 270) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 300), collected from nine different tertiary-care hospitals across India during 2019 to 2021, were included in the study. Carbapenemases in these isolates were detected by PCR. E. coli isolates were also screened for the presence of the 4-Amino-Acid insert in penicillin binding protein 3 (PBP3). MICs were determined by reference broth microdilution. Higher MICs of cefepime/taniborbactam (.8 mg/L) were linked to NDM, both in K. pneumoniae and in E. coli. In particular, such higher MICs were observed in 88 to 90% of E. coli isolates producing NDM and OXA-48-like or NDM alone. On the other hand, OXA-48-like-producing E. coli or K. pneumoniae isolates were nearly 100% susceptible to cefepime/taniborbactam. Regardless of the carbapenemase types and the pathogens, cefepime/ zidebactam showed potent activity (.99% inhibited at#8mg/L). It seems that the 4-amino-Acid insert in PBP3 (present universally in the study E. coli isolates) along with NDM adversely impact the activity of cefepime/taniborbactam. Thus, the limitations of the BL/BLI approach in tackling the complex interplay of enzymatic and nonenzymatic resistance mechanisms were better revealed in whole-cell studies where the activity observed was a net effect of b-lactamase inhibition, cellular uptake, and target affinity of the combination. IMPORTANCE The study revealed the differential ability of cefepime/taniborbactam and cefepime/zidebactam in tackling carbapenemase-producing Indian clinical isolates that also harbored additional mechanisms of resistance. NDM-expressing E. coli with 4-Amino-Acid insert in PBP3 are predominately resistant to cefepime/taniborbactam, while the b-lactam enhancer mechanism-based cefepime/zidebactam showed consistent activity against single-or dual-carbapenemase-producing isolates including E. coli with PBP3 inserts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere04925-22
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2023


  • Enterobacterales
  • b-lactam enhancer
  • b-lactamase inhibitor
  • carbapenemases
  • cefepime
  • taniborbactam
  • zidebactam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Genetics
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Ecology


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