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New viruses to treat bacterial diseases -- 'My enemies' enemy is my friend'
Date:9/2/2007

rek Pickard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. We all need good bacteria to help us fight off infections, to digest our food and provide us with essential nutrients, and conventional antibiotics can kill these too, while they are fighting the disease-causing bacteria

Phage based treatment has been largely ignored until recently in Western Europe and the USA. The main human clinical reports have come from Eastern Europe, particularly the Tbilisi Bacteriophage Institute in Georgia where bacteriophages are used for successful treatment of infections such as diabetic ulcers and wounds. More studies are planned along western clinical trial lines with all the standards required.

The more we can develop the treatment and understand the obstacles encountered in using this method to treat gut infections, the more likely we are to maximise its chance of success in the long term, says Ana Toribio. We have found that using a variety of phages to treat one disease has many benefits over just using one phage type to attack a dangerous strain of bacteria, overcoming any potential resistance to the phage from bacterial mutations.

This brings us back to the problem we are trying to address in the first place. If anything, conventional antibiotic treatment has led to MRSA and other superbug infections becoming not only more prevalent but also more infectious and dangerous. Bacteriophage therapy offers an alternative that needs to be taken seriously in Western Europe, says Derek Pickard.


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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
l.goodchild@sgm.ac.uk
44-011-898-81843
Society for General Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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