Using Viruses to Fight Bacteria?

In Tbilisi, Georgia (the country, not the state), Dr. Revaz Adamia is trying something different in the war against bacteria: instead of using antimicrobial drugs, he’s treating infections with a special class of viruses instead.

Why use viruses? The class in use, bacteriophages, target only bacteria, not the human infected. As a result, the virus infects and kills the infection that was making the patient sick. When the bacterial infection is gone, the virus, now without a host, dies off.

This solution is an alternative to the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Many bacteria are increasingly resistant to the drugs used to treat patients infected with them. The most well-known case of resistance is MRSA, or Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that frequently causes skin and respiratory infections or food poisoning. Resistant bacteria no longer respond to the drugs once used to treat infections, making treatment of patients increasingly difficult.

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2 thoughts on “Using Viruses to Fight Bacteria?

  1. A while back the New Scientist magazine did an interesting article on the need to a new generation of antibiotics, one that stop the bacteria from causing harm to us but doesnt actually kill them. This would provide no genetic advantage to those who are resistant, and so a new strain of resistant bacteria is a lot less likely. I intend to do a blog post on this in more detail soon if you’d be intested in reading it?

    • I meant to reply to this (forgive me if this is a repeat) and say that I’d absolutely be interested in that. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it now that I have time to watch for things (for 2 weeks anyway).

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