New York (The Verge) — These superbug-fighting viruses are making a comeback theverge.com/2019/7/5/20682….
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria — superbugs — are medical monsters of our own design. Honed by years of antibiotic misuse and overuse, superbugs demand new weapons to treat them. Bacteria-hunting viruses called phages have emerged as potentially potent tools in this fight, successfully sicced on vicious infections in a psychologist who caught a superbug on vacation and a London cystic fibrosis patient.
Over a century since its debut, phage therapy is having a moment. And researchers are hoping that the moment lasts long enough for this to become not just a reliable weapon in our war against superbugs, but also potentially a tool that could do anything from delivering cancer drugs to parts of the body, to making our food supply safer.
Just a few decades ago, phages were mostly forgotten in the West — but were still used frequently by doctors in the Eastern bloc. Alexander “Sandro” Sulakvelidze, a researcher from the country of Georgia first learned of the knowledge disparity during a fellowship at the University of Maryland in the 1990s. Sulakvelidze came upon his mentor, who had just lost a patient to a drug-resistant infection. When Sulakvelidze asked why the phages had not worked, his mentor asked him what he was talking about. — B David Zarley/@verge