Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using viruses to beat superbugs

26.03.2012
Viruses that can target and destroy bacteria have the potential to be an effective strategy for tackling hard-to-treat bacterial infections. The development of such novel therapies is being accelerated in response to growing antibiotic resistance, says Dr David Harper at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin.

Bacteriophages are viruses that can infect bacteria and multiply within them, breaking down the cell and destroying the bacteria - amplifying themselves in the process to deal with more bacteria.

They are found everywhere including in river water, soil, sewage and on the human body. Soon after their initial discovery in 1915, bacteriophages were investigated as antibacterial therapeutic agents. A limited understanding of their mode of action meant early work was often unsuccessful and with the advent of the chemical antibiotic era, bacteriophages were passed over as therapeutics.

Dr Harper, Chief Scientific Officer at AmpliPhi Bioscience in Bedfordshire explains why bacteriophages are being revisited as antibacterial agents. "Each bacteriophage is highly specific to a certain type of bacteria and needs the right bacterial host cell in order to multiply. The more bacterial targets there are, the quicker they grow by killing the host cells. Therefore it seems very likely that infections harbouring high numbers of bacteria will benefit most from bacteriophage therapy – for example chronically infected ears, lungs and wounds," he said.

"For these types of infection, only a tiny dose of the virus is needed - as small as one thousandth of a millionth of a gram. This can usually be administered directly to the site of infection in a spray, drops or a cream. The major advantage to bacteriophages is that they don't infect human cells so seem likely to be very safe to use."

Increasing resistance to antibiotics has meant that bacterial infections are becoming more and more difficult to treat. With fewer antibiotics available to treat drug-resistant infections, research into bacteriophage therapy has been accelerated. "The rate of new antibiotics coming onto the market does not match the rate of increasing drug-resistance. The need for new approaches to counter such high resistance is both urgent and vital. New approaches will save lives," stressed Dr Harper.

Clinical trials for bacteriophage therapy are now underway. The first clinical trial for safety was reported in 2005 and the results demonstrating the effectiveness of bacteriophage therapy were published in 2009. This clinical trial was conducted by AmpliPhi. The company is planning further clinical trials in conditions where existing antibacterial therapies are not able to help. "With the results of further clinical trials, once regulatory issues are overcome and future investment secured in this area of research, this should lead to the development of novel products suitable for widespread use to tackle bacterial diseases and overcome antibiotic resistance", said Dr Harper.

Laura Udakis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New deep-water coral discovered
22.10.2019 | Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

nachricht DNA-reeling bacteria yield new insight on how superbugs acquire drug-resistance
22.10.2019 | Indiana University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A cavity leads to a strong interaction between light and matter

Researchers have succeeded in creating an efficient quantum-mechanical light-matter interface using a microscopic cavity. Within this cavity, a single photon is emitted and absorbed up to 10 times by an artificial atom. This opens up new prospects for quantum technology, report physicists at the University of Basel and Ruhr-University Bochum in the journal Nature.

Quantum physics describes photons as light particles. Achieving an interaction between a single photon and a single atom is a huge challenge due to the tiny...

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New deep-water coral discovered

22.10.2019 | Life Sciences

DNA-reeling bacteria yield new insight on how superbugs acquire drug-resistance

22.10.2019 | Life Sciences

Heat Pumps with Climate-Friendly Refrigerant Developed for Indoor Installation

22.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>