Faced with failing antibiotics, scientists are using killer viruses to fight superbugs

January 29, 2018

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Advances in DNA sequencing and AI could make the idea a more practical treatment option. Patients in danger of dying from uncontrollable bacterial infections could find new allies: killer viruses known as phages. Armed with advances in DNA sequencing and artificial intelligence, a few startups are turning these natural enemies of bacteria into promising alternatives […]

The war on superbugs: how a forgotten 100 year old therapy is saving lives

December 25, 2017

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In 2018, two small biotech companies in the U.S.–AmpliPhi Biosciences and Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT)–will launch clinical trials that will attempt to answer some of the key questions about phage. “In the future, if we can cut the time down, phage might be better than antibiotics,” says APT founder Dr. Carl Merril.

Laughing Parrots, Backflipping Robots and Saviour Viruses: Science Stories of 2017

December 24, 2017

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Leading scientists pick the dozen most significant discoveries and developments of 2017 – from a steep decline in flying insects to a virus that can kill bacteria

Superbugs Are Nearly Impossible to Fight. This Last-Resort Medical Treatment Offers Hope

December 18, 2017

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On the evening of Nov. 7, Steffanie Strathdee sent out a cryptic tweet: “#Phage researchers! I am working with a team to get Burkholderia cepacia phages to treat a 25 y old woman with CF whose infection has failed all #antibiotics. We need lytic non-lysogenic phage URGENTLY to find suitable phage matches. Email if you […]

Inside the Government’s War on Microbes

December 13, 2017

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Humans and bacteria have been clashing for as long as both have inhabited the Earth, and for decades now, humans have had the upper hand. Starting with penicillin in 1942, antibiotics have brought previously untreatable maladies like tuberculosis under control and made surgery far safer.

A Patient’s Legacy: Researchers Work to Make Phage Therapy Less of a Long Shot

November 28, 2017

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The researcher couldn’t get Mallory Smith’s story out of her mind. Smith was a 25-year-old cystic fibrosis patient, and she was near death at a Pittsburgh hospital, her lungs overwhelmed by bacteria. All antibiotics had failed. As a last resort, her father suggested an experimental treatment known as phage therapy.

The ‘Post-Antibiotic Apocalypse’ Can Be Prevented. Here’s How

October 20, 2017

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The era of antibiotics that began almost a century ago is coming to an end. Diseases that were once easily treatable have become resistant to even the most potent antibiotics. Around the globe, drug-resistant infections claim hundreds of thousands of lives a year; according to one report, the toll of infectious disease deaths could rise […]

Scientists are dusting off a long-forgotten weapon to cope with modern bacteria

July 2, 2017

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In 1915, British scientist Frederick Twort saw something weird happening to the bacteria that had invaded his viral cultures: They were disappearing, a sign they had been destroyed. Two years later, French-Canadian microbiologist Félix d’ Hérelle observed the same phenomenon in his own lab. Both researchers, working independently, concluded that the viruses they had been […]

Sewage Saved This Man’s Life. Someday It Could Save Yours

May 11, 2017

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When Thomas Patterson woke up from a two-month coma in March 2016, he learned two things he couldn’t believe: Donald Trump was soon to become the Republican nominee for president, and his wife, Steffanie Strathdee, had saved him from dying of an antibiotic-resistant superbug by injecting him with viruses harvested from sewage.

Her Husband Was Dying From A Superbug. She Turned To Sewer Viruses Collected By The Navy.

May 6, 2017

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Scientists have long dismissed “phage therapy” as a fringe idea pushed by eccentrics who enjoy fishing in sewage. But now the Navy is betting on it. Two days after walking through the pyramids, Tom Patterson got very sick. The psychiatry professor was in Egypt with his wife on one of their many adventurous vacations away from […]