Battling Bacteria

Is the cure for what ails you, more germs?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Bacteria that survive antibiotics not only multiply, they can become drug resistant! And drug-proof infections kill twenty-three thousand Americans every year.

Enter Helen Spencer from Great Ormond Street Hospital and her international team. When a lung transplant patient developed a drug-resistant infection, they tried a groundbreaking approach.

Bacteriophages, or phages, are viruses that can infect and kill bacteria. But Spencer is the first doctor to use phages against deadly bacteria INSIDE a human!

Her team edited the phages’ D-N-A to make them lean, mean bacterial killers. These Special Ops phages were specially trained to kill the specific bacteria inside the patient.

And…it worked! Once treated, the patient’s wounds finally began to heal.

These trained assassins could be a new and powerful weapon to combat antibiotic resistance. Scientists are hard at work developing unique phages for different types of bacteria.

Not all microscopic creepy crawlies are gross. Some could save your life!