Monday, November 4, 2013

New Implications for Phage Therapy

A new study published in September holds new implications for using Bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacteria. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and replicate inside of bacteria, and have previously been explored for the use of treating human pathogenic bacteria. Unfortunately, bacteriophage (or phage) treatment suffers from the same drawback as antibacterial treatments -- rapid emergence of resistant bacterial strains. In this study, researchers explore the use of a "Phage Cocktail" in the use of treating pathogenic bacteria in shrimp, as it is ill advised to use antibiotics in the food industry. Preliminary results showed that a cocktail consisting of three different phages targeting one bacteria was effective at killing bacteria and experienced significantly slowed rates of resistance. While this finding has only been demonstrated in a controlled environment, it could potentially have great use in the medical treatment of human pathogens in light of the antibiotic arms race we are currently engaged in. 

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