A while ago, in one of my posts on pseudoscience (there’s also some material on that on my Schol Bio moodle page, for those of you who have access), I commented on the issue of bacterial resistance to common antibiotics. This is a real problem & not one that’s going to go away. (It’s also an excellent example of evolution in action.)
Now Abbie has a post on her blog, ERV, looking at the use of bacteriophages as a way of stopping pathogenic bacterial infections in their tracks. Bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria. The suffix ‘-phage’ means ‘eater’, & if you have a lawn of bacteria growing on an agar plate & infect them with the right phage, then you’ll see clear areas develop on the plate as the bacteria are destroyed – on the macro scale it looks like they’re being eaten 🙂 Bacteriophages are very host-specific, so are unlikely to kill off the ‘good’ bacteria living in your gut and, in the research paper that Abbie’s talking about, they didn’t appear to cause any side effects. OK. we’re talking a mouse model here, but it’s still a promising piece of research. Pop over to ERV & read the whole story.