People looking forward to eating raw oysters over the holidays will welcome news that scientists are making progress in the fight against a rare but deadly disease associated with the tasty bivalves.
Two University of Florida researchers report curing mice of the disease by using a virus to attack its bacterial source – Vibrio vulnificus. The scientists say the research may lead to techniques to purify oysters after harvest but before they reach raw bars and seafood markets – and might one day result in a better cure for the disease in people.
The work, reported in a November article in the journal Infection and Immunity, is part of a growing trend in research to use bacteria-attacking viruses, or "phages," to cure diseases caused by bacteria, said Paul Gulig, a UF professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at UF’s College of Medicine. Although the disease caused by Vibrio responds to antibiotic treatment if caught early enough, the trend toward research of phages is spurred in part by the increasing ineffectiveness of antibiotics in killing ever-more-resistant bacteria, he and other researchers said.
Aaron Hoover | EurekAlert!
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