Fascinating report out today suggesting that the way to fight back against the antibiotic-resistant bacteria is…wait for it…to use viruses! That’s a new one on me. Here is the report I read from WDDTY:
Viruses may well be the answer to the growing ineffectiveness of antibiotics and the rise of the superbug. Bacteriophages destroy deadly bacteria such as C. difficile and other superbugs, say researchers.
Phages can be engineered to destroy specific bacterium, as WDDTY has explained (see May 2013: Superbug wars: the phage fights back). Scientists in Georgia and Poland have been researching phage therapy since it was successfully used against an outbreak of typhus in 1919.
Phages are viruses that infect and ‘lock’ into a bacterium’s genetic signature, ultimately destroying it. They are found throughout nature and especially in water.
The West has been tentatively introducing phage therapy for several years, and scientists have tested them in laboratories to kill Listeria, the bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Now researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hamburg have successfully tested it on C. difficile bacteria, which can be unresponsive to antibiotics.
(Source: PLoS Pathogens, 2014; 10: e1004228)
You can also read a report on Science Daily here:
Fighting bacteria — with viruses: Promising information for developing an alternative to antibiotics
Encouraging news on that depressing front for a change, don’t you think?!