Newsletter

Good News for Anyone Worried About Antibiotic-Resistant Super-Bugs

Bacteria colony

You’ve likely heard the news reporting on how antibiotics are becoming more ineffective.

And, it’s a real threat. Antibiotics are slowly becoming useless fighting some infections.

Everyone needs to be concerned about the overuse of antibiotics, because it’s creating new “super-bugs”, bacteria resistant to antibiotics because of their gross overuse.

However, even though it’s something to be aware of, there is a possibility bacteria eating viruses might be a new kind of treatment against these dangerous super-bugs.

Even more incredible is these treatments are actually a resurrection of a treatment modern medicine abandoned when penicillin was first discovered.
It’s a blast from the past being put to good use.

The viruses are known as bacteriophages and they’re capable of attacking bacteria and destroying them while leaving human cells completely unaffected (as far as current research is able to tell).

They’re believed to accomplish this is by invading the bacteria and then preventing them from replicating while leaving human cells intact.

The truth is, these kinds of treatments are desperately needed.

The World Health Organization has admitted the overuse of antibiotics has us fast approaching the “post-antibiotic era”.

And so these bacteriophage treatments could give us the ability to reboot our treatment methodologies, which would still allow antibiotics to work in the future.

Marco Cavaleri, head of the European Medicine Agency, said, “We need alternatives to the current armamentarium of antibiotics and we want to see more development activity in this area…In light of the increase in antimicrobial resistance and the lack of new antibiotics, it is important to open up the discussion.”

So what of these bacteriophages? If we’ve known about them for so long then why haven’t we used them before?

Part of this is because of the rigorous standards required by Western medicine testing. And the other part has everything to do with phage therapy being outpaced by the effectiveness of antibiotics when they were first discovered.

But, in countries like Russia and Poland, phages are still being used, which is why the European Union has decided to use several million dollars worth of funding to test out how effective phage therapy can be at beating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The Huffington Post reports, “The new 220-patient clinical trial known as Phagoburn, which has 3.8 million euros ($4.2 million) of EU funding, aims to close that knowledge gap – although Cavaleri believes it will still be at least five years before any product meeting stringent Western drug standards is ready for approval.

Jerome Gabard, chief executive of French biotech firm Pherecydes Pharma, which makes the phage cocktail used in the Phagoburn trial, hopes he might get a conditional green light before that, but acknowledges Western doctors will be wary.

‘This will probably be a last-resort treatment, after three or four lines of antibiotics have been tried,” he said. “It will be for fighting multi-drug resistant strains that are not cured by antibiotics. ‘ ” 

Given the overuse of antibiotics in both medicine as well as agriculture, we need these kinds of treatments to be explored.

Ignoring them could prove be detrimental to us, so it’s encouraging to know somethings’s be done!