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Share29 Pin2 +1 Tweet Share EmailShares 31The technical word is a bacteriophage (which means “eater of bacteria”), or often just phage for short. The idea has been around since the 1920s and kept alive in Russia and Eastern Bloc countries, where phage therapies are used regularly. Today, with the collapse of antibiotics and the emergence of worldwide, dangerous and drug resistant bacteria, phage therapy suddenly starts to look attractive again and is being re-introduced here. There may come a time when you have to trust your life to a bunch of invisible marauders, let loose in your body! Phages (I’ll use the shorter term from now on) were first identified by English microbiologist Frederick Twort in 1915 and again in 1917 by French Canadian microbiologist Felix d’Herelle.
Not long after his discovery, d’Herelle used phages to treat dysentery, in what was probably the first attempt to use bacteriophages therapeutically. The efficacy of the phage preparation was “confirmed” shortly afterwards, when three additional patients having bacterial dysentery and treated with one dose of the preparation started to recover within 24 hours of treatment. They injected bacteriophages into and around surgically opened lesions, and the authors reported regression of the infections within 24 to 48 hours.
Bacteriophages are much more specific than antibiotics, meaning one phage will only attack and “eat” one particular bacteria and no other.
They have a high safety factor, that is, phage therapy would be expected to give rise to few side effects. Another big advantage is that, since phages replicate inside the patient, a smaller effective dose can be used. Phages are especially promising for biofilms, bacteria which secrete themselves a protective polysaccharide layer, which antibiotics typically cannot penetrate. Isolated from Western advances in antibiotic production in the 1940s, Russian scientists continued to develop already successful phage therapy to treat the wounds of soldiers in field hospitals.
In WW2 phages were also used to treat many soldiers infected with various bacterial diseases e.g. Russian researchers continued to develop and to refine their treatments and to publish their research and results. However, due to the scientific barriers of the Cold War, this knowledge was not translated and did not proliferate across the world.
There is an extensive library and research center at the George Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia. Phages could even open up a line of advance against that dread affliction of teenagers: acne.
Scientists have used genetic sequencing to identify 11 new viruses with the potential to kill the P. My own interest in this topic was refreshed last week, when I met a Russian MD well-versed in phage therapy.
I am pursuing more of this line of therapy and will keep you posted on future developments, including where to get supplies.
In the meantime get yourself a copy of How To Survive In A World Without Antibiotics — because you are in such a world already!
Qualified in medicine MB ChB (same as MD) in Manchester, UK in 1970, Scott-Mumby almost immediately began research into controversial alternatives. He started the first successful Food and Environmental Allergy Clinic in 1979 which rapidly spread to Harley St (London), Glasgow, Dublin and Stockholm. If you look at the way that the current insurance industry is organized, right, what do doctors need? To characterize all bactericidal factors in a medical-grade honey, we used a novel approach of successive neutralization of individual honey bactericidal factors. The researchers are hopeful that they can build on these initial findings to develop new uses for this potent ingredient in honey, and in light of an alarming trend of antibiotic-resistance, ultimately even put defensin-1 to use as an alternative to current antibiotics. Before getting to the numerous recent news items on antibiotic resistance and urinary tract infections, let me quote from Dr.
A study in Hong Kong concludes that antibiotic resistance may arise from the overuse of antibiotics in food-producing animals.
This was a small study, which found that resistance to the antibiotic gentamicin was granted by the same gene sampled from both animals and humans. Another study, however, found that wildlife in a remote area of Finland had an almost complete absence of antibiotic resistance.
The researchers chose to study a species of iguanas (Conolophus pallidus) on an isolated island (Santa Fe) in the Galapagos . The mechanism is not in dispute: If you expose bacteria to antibiotics, they will mutate to become resistant. The speed with which we address the increasingly urgent problem of antibiotic resistance will depend on financial interests, not just scientific evidence or common sense.
It’s not the medical profession, which understands that overprescribing antibiotics contributes to the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.
A recent study finds that antibiotic resistance is on the increase in the very ground we walk on.
The authors of the study expressed concern for the public health implications of their findings.
So we’re not talking about picking up disease-causing bacteria while walking in the woods, the way athletes contract MRSA from towels in the locker room.
As lead researcher David Graham explains: “The genes themselves do not get passed directly to humans per se. It’s almost impossible to connect the bacteria in a specific individual with an animal that received an antibiotic.
The study collected houseflies and poultry litter from chicken farms in an area of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. When scientists compared the antibiotic resistant bacteria found in both flies and litter, they found striking similarities. BBC News has a lengthy discussion of the implications of the treaty for animal experimentation.
Twenty years ago physicians in industrialized nations believed that infectious disease were a scourge of the past.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has issued a statement challenging global leaders to develop 10 new antimicrobial drugs by 2020. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are found almost everywhere in and on our bodies.
Viruses are much smaller and have to invade the cells of other organisms in order to survive. But the biggest reason doctors are careful about prescribing antibiotics is because the overuse of antibiotics is causing bacteria to become more resistant. Doctors are particularly concerned about antibiotic-resistance because it can make treating infections much more difficult, and sometimes even impossible.
Antibiotic resistant infections can lead to longer hospital stays, more doctor visits, longer illnesses, more aggressive and toxic treatments, and sometimes even death.
First, you should only take antibiotics when you really need them and your doctor prescribes them.
If you are already sick, you should get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and use home remedies or over-the-counter medicines to treat your symptoms.
If you've had a good experience with us, please help us spread the word by leaving us a Google review. Did you know that colds, flu, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses?  Are you aware that antibiotics do not help fight viruses?  And that if you take an antibiotic while you have a viral infection that you are actually doing more harm than good because taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your chances of a bacterial infection later that will be resistant to antibiotic therapies?
The website that aims to help you to care for yourself and your child during your child's first years. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for infections that are caused by bacteria, like some chest infections, kidney infection, some ear infections and meningitis.
It is because your infection is likely caused by a virus and it's safer to let it clear up on its own. You can also visit our new Health A-Z - it contains information and advice on how to treat and recover from a wide range of common illnesses.
The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and get some rest. If you are taking medicines for any other conditions, you must check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any over-the-counter remedies. Taking antibiotics when they aren’t needed might mean that they won’t work when you really need them for a serious infection. If you get an infection caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, your infection can last longer. From a wider perspective we are running out of antibiotics that are resistant to bacteria – if we lose this war against antibiotic resistance it could set medicine back decades.


Ask your doctor if you have all the vaccinations you need to protect yourself from infection. For questions about health services, your entitlements, or how to access HSE health or social services in your area?
Prevailing wisdom held that antibiotic resistance works only on an individual level: a bacterium acquires a genetic mutation that confers protection against a drug, allowing it to survive and reproduce.
But the new study, published September 2, 2010, in the journal Nature, reveals that there are also population-wide changes in the bacterial community at work. The chance that we’ll have new and dangerous super bugs emerging is quite high, and I’m worried that our arsenal of antibiotics is dwindling. In the past few years, the rise of 'super bugs' such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has had hospitals and medical professionals scrambling to fend off a public health disaster. The team then analyzed the proteins made by high-MIC bacteria in the presence of norfloxacin, and discovered that an enzyme called tryptophanase was particularly abundant. It turns out that indole offers vulnerable bacteria two kinds of protection against norfloxacin. By comparing the growth of bacteria, the researchers found that the mutants produce indole at a significant cost to themselves.
This altruistic behavior—which appears in species throughout the animal kingdom, including humans—presents a well-known paradox for evolutionary biologists: if evolution favors the fittest, why would an individual sacrifice its own fitness for the rest of the group? Collins's findings bolster the 'kin selection' theory—formalized in the 1960s by the British evolutionary biologist W.D. Though the study may make waves in the evolutionary biology field, Collins thinks its implications are most pertinent for public health. Future research on antibiotics might well focus on targeting the indole pathway as a means to block bugs' ability to share resistance, Collins says.
Free resources for science teachers and students, including animations, short films, and apps. HHMI’s science magazine explores biomedical research through in-depth features, news, and perspectives. HHMI’s innovative research center where scientists pursue challenging problems in a collaborative setting. Watch this video about when antibiotics are needed, how to use them appropriately, and how you can help stop antibiotic resistance in its tracks. Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child's best treatment option against viral infections. Just because your healthcare professional doesn't give you an antibiotic doesn't mean you aren't sick.
Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms. If you are diagnosed with the flu, there are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. Do not stop taking the antibiotics early unless your healthcare professional tells you to do so. I gave it some coverage in my blockbuster book of alternatives to antibiotics: How To Survive In A World Without Antibiotics. There was even some interest in the West, but after the discovery of antibiotics in the 1930s and 40s, doctors and scientists lost interest (as with the Rife machine and other antibiotic “alternatives”). Phage therapy has many potential applications in human medicine as well as dentistry, veterinary science, and agriculture.
The studies were conducted at the Hopital des Enfants-Malades in Paris in 1919 under the clinical supervision of Professor Victor-Henri Hutinel, the hospital’s Chief of Pediatrics.
Several similarly promising studies followed, and encouraged by these early results, d’Herelle and others continued studies of the therapeutic use of phages. Phage therapy today is a widespread form of treatment in that region and so far as I can determine, testing for phage strains for use in the United States has to be done via labs in Tsibilisi. I had a friend in the same city who had been successfully treated for an MRSA infection, using phage therapy. McArdle is a journalists who writes for the The Atlantic, primarily on economics, finance, and government policy.
Notice (in the video below) that she never questions the market-driven premise of pharmaceuticals – and by extension, the for-profit nature of medicine and health care. When researchers examined bacteria resistant to the antibiotic gentamicin, 84% of human samples and 75% of animal samples had an identical gene for antibiotic resistance.
However, it did not look at the possible routes by which this resistance may be transmitted between animals and humans.
It looked at the spread of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria among animals that were totally removed from antibiotics. In a wooded area of northwest England, researchers had found that wildlife developed antibiotic resistance even though they had not been exposed to antibiotics. How could you design an experiment that controlled possibly confounding factors, such as climate, animal interaction, and human interference? Unlike the English countryside, the island was uninhabited by humans, though tourists made daytime excursions to a restricted area. There is controversy, however, on the question of just how much the widespread use of antibiotics contributes to the problem.
As the recently published (and excellent) book Superbug describes, ARB are also increasingly common in the community – in sports teams, prisons, and on pig farms, for example. Microbes in soil samples collected in the Netherlands over a sixty year period were analyzed to see if antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) had become more abundant.
The concern stems from the ability of bacteria to transfer their genes to other bacteria in their surroundings, not just to their own offspring. The significance of an increase in ARG in soil microbes is the ability to transfer resistance genes to bacteria that make us sick.
The genes get passed from exposed bacteria to bacteria … [that] might ultimately end up in humans, some of which might be pathogenic. Members of congress were looking for evidence that would link agricultural use of antibiotics to human illness. But there’s certainly a case to made for the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the spread of antibiotic resistance. A Danish study estimated that, over a six-week period, as many as 30,000 flies may enter a poultry house. The bacteria from both sources had very similar resistance characteristics and very similar resistance genes. Last December animal welfare became a core value for the EU, right up there with opposing discrimination, promoting gender equality, and protecting human health and welfare. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies lack a financial incentive to develop new antibiotics. With industrialization came improved sanitation, housing and nutrition, as well as the revolutionary development of disease-fighting antimicrobials. The organism that causes gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is very versatile and quick to develop resistance.
Current data document the impending disaster due to the confluence of decreasing investment in antibacterial drug research and development concomitant with the documented rapid increase in the level of resistance to currently licensed drugs.
Bacterial and viral infections often share the same symptoms—coughs, sore throats, and stuffy noses. Antibiotics not only kill off bad bacteria, but also some of the good bacteria in your body. When you use an antibiotic, all the sensitive bacteria are killed first, but some of the more resistant bacteria may survive.
Commonly used antibiotics are now becoming infective at treating most of the more significant bacterial infections. You can prevent the spread of germs by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands, and keeping surfaces in your home clean.
The good news is that most viral infections don’t last very long and you should be back to your old self in no time.
There's no point.Colds and flu are caused by a virus and antibiotics do not work on viruses.
If the course isn't completed, some bacteria may be left in your body and become resistant to antibiotics. Ask your pharmacist for advice about over-the-counter remedies, and read the table below for information on how to treat some common symptoms. If you take many courses of antibiotics, bacteria can change so that the antibiotic does not work against them any more.
If you have young children, make sure they are up to date with their childhood immunisations.


According to a new report from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers, a handful of resistant pathogens can protect an entire colony. Eventually, as vulnerable bacteria die, the mutant's stronger progeny repopulate the colony. Under the onslaught of an antibiotic, resistant Escherichia coli produce—at an energy cost to themselves—a protein that seeps into the communal broth and triggers a slew of protective mechanisms in their non-resistant neighbors. The new findings could help explain why resistance has been so difficult to curb, the researchers say.
Collins and colleagues at Boston University grew bacteria in a bioreactor—a large, capped glass vessel with many extended arms that allow researchers exquisite control over what the bugs are exposed to. To their total surprise, the researchers discovered that the MIC of individual samples was much lower than the MIC for the population as a whole.
One is to turn on cellular machines that pump the antibiotic out of the cell, as if expelling a poison. Hamilton—that says that organisms may behave altruistically toward others that share their genes. The researchers confirmed that the same population-wide protection occurs when bugs are exposed to other kinds of antibiotics. More broadly, the work highlights the pressing need for investment in new antibiotic development. When you use antibiotics appropriately, you do the best for your health, your family's health, and the health of those around you.
Unneeded antibiotics may lead to harmful side effects and future antibiotic-resistant infections. Talk with your healthcare professional about the best treatment for your or your child's illness.
We may harness them for deliberate use, pumping phages into a person challenged with a bacterial infection. Consequently phage mixtures are often applied to improve the chances of success, or samples can be taken and an appropriate phage identified and grown. Other promising present-day research is pointed at bed sores, leprosy and drug-resistant staph infections.
What’s interesting is her frank description of how doctors behave and how patients in turn regard doctors. This would argue against the idea that antibiotic use in animals should be restricted, since it suggests that antibiotic resistance would develop anyway. Is there irrefutable scientific evidence that the overuse of antibiotics in raising livestock, for example, is harmful to human health? Who has a financial interest in convincing the public — and in turn politicians — that the overuse of antibiotics is not a problem?
Unfortunately, because the public is not well educated about the subject, doctors find they need to satisfy the demands of their patients by offering prescriptions. Resistance was tested for four classes of antibiotics, including tetracyclines and penicillins. One Republican specifically asked for research done in the US, implying European studies would not be good enough. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, MD) just released a study on antibiotic resistant bacteria found in houseflies who make their home on industrialized chicken farms. By the time it’s been used, it consists primarily of chicken manure, which is rich in bacteria. Populations living in those nations were not only enjoying an unprecedented decrease in mortality and morbidity, but a corresponding increase in life expectancy. Women have a 60-80 % chance of becoming infected after a single sexual encounter with an infected male partner. The disease is rapidly becoming resistant to the fluoroquinolone family of broad-spectrum antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin).
Despite the good faith efforts of many individuals, professional societies, and governmental agencies, the looming crisis has only worsened over the past decade. Bacteria commonly cause illnesses like strep throat or most kinds of ear and sinus infections.
Viruses are typically responsible for illnesses like colds, the flu, most coughs and bronchitis, fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, and sore throats (with the exception of strep throat).
People often think that green or yellow nasal discharge or phlegm is an indication of a bacterial infection, but those same symptoms can also occur with a virus. So there's no point taking antibiotics to treat a cold or flu, and no point asking your doctor to prescribe them for a cold or flu. This is called antibiotic resistance and it happens when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics and learn to resist them. Never keep or re-use left over antibiotics for the next time you, your child, or any other family member is sick.
As they upped the bugs' exposure, the scientists periodically removed samples of bacteria and measured their 'minimum inhibitory concentration', or MIC—the minimum strength of drug that stops growth of the bug. Upon further digging, they found that bacterium with high MICs were few and far between—typically making up less than one percent of the population. The metabolite also turns on pathways that protect the cell from oxidative stress, a chemical imbalance that leads to the build up toxic molecules called free radicals. So even if altruistic behavior prevents an individual from surviving to pass its own genes on to future generations, others in the population can fulfill that evolutionary role. What's more, many types of bacteria produce indole, suggesting that a similar cooperative process may happen in a host of bacterial species. Reimbursements for primary care physicians, who are where a lot – by no means all – but where a lot these vaccines go through, are very low. This tropical island, which was near the equator, was also unlike the remote area of Finland, where winters were long and cold, the population density of animals was low, and there was limited interaction among animal species.
Characteristics of the mechanism of resistance can now be identified on the genes themselves. Currently, doctors use cefixime or ceftriaxone to treat gonorrhea, but there are now signs of resistance to these drugs as well, particularly to cefixime. Every time you take an antibiotic, it becomes more likely that the bacteria in your body will become more resistant to antibiotics.
MRSA used to be only found in hospitals, but it is now being spread to healthy people everywhere. Being up-to-date on your vaccinations and getting your yearly flu vaccine can help prevent many of the more serious infections.
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed also puts you at risk of side effects, like a rash, upset stomach or diarrhoea. The table below helps you to know when you're likely to need an antibiotic - and when you aren't.
A few years ago, Collins's team reported that antibiotics work, in effect, by pummeling bugs with free radicals. As the resistance to fluoroquinolones begins to approach 50 percent in community strains of E. If you feed a pig a steady diet of antibiotics, can you irrefutably prove that this results in the illness or death of someone who later eats that pig?
It takes time for doctors to educate their patients, and today’s doctors are very short of time.
If antibiotics are unable to treat your illness, any possible side effects are only going to make you feel worse instead of better. This is not sufficient grounds, however, to say that doctors have a financial incentive to overprescribe. If you stop your treatment too soon, some of the stronger bacteria may have survived and can cause a re-infection. Although doctors practicing today have no personal memory of the pre-antibiotic era, they are certainly among the first to appreciate that practicing medicine would become a nightmare without antibiotics. But to do that, the doctor has to sit down and deal with an angry patient who may pick up and leave their practice. Although the resistance rates are lower for community-acquired infections as compared to hospital-acquired infections, the resistance rate among community-acquired E.
It is expected that a continued increase is going to occur in the coming decade, which means we may reach 50 percent resistance of community-acquired E.



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