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HomeUncategorizedEngineered Viruses Successfully Tested To Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Infections, Scientist

Engineered Viruses Successfully Tested To Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Infections, Scientist


A preclinical study performed by Monash University scientists found that utilizing a combination of phages and antibiotics to treat bacterial infections may be considerably more effective than using the agents separately.

The study, which was published on Sunday (May 15) in eBioMedicine, has far-reaching implications for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, which are considered one of the greatest threats to world health by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Phage therapy is the treatment of bacterial infections with bacterial viruses.

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in phage therapy as a possible cure for antibiotic-resistant illnesses.

"However, questions remain around the efficacy of phage therapy as a treatment option," said study author Dr. Jeremy Barr, from the Monash University's School of Biological Sciences, and the Centre to Impact AMR.
"This has been obfuscated by the fact that clinical phage therapy is almost always administered alongside antibiotics, making it difficult to determine the efficacy of phage therapy," he said.

The researchers deployed a phage-antibiotic combination against Acinetobacter baumannii, the world’s most antibiotic-resistant superbug.

The researchers previously demonstrated that phages can kill antibiotic-resistant A. baumannii, but they discovered phage-resistant mutants as a result; phage-resistance develops in the same way that antibiotic resistance does after prolonged antibiotic usage.

"We found that while A. baumannii rapidly became phage-resistant, in doing so they were also resensitized to the same antibiotics they use to resist," said lead study author Fernando L. Gordillo Altamirano, also from the Monash School of Biological Sciences.
"Applying this knowledge, we conducted a pre-clinical trial using animal models and found that the combined use of phages and antibiotics led to significantly improved treatment outcomes than either antibiotics or phage therapy alone," he said .

The findings, according to Dr. Barr, “revealed the mechanism by which the combination of these two medicines resulted in a greater therapy outcome.”

"We have been able to confirm that, even in complex living systems, treatment with our characterized phages can reliably steer bacteria towards a phage-resistant variant that is re-sensitized to antibiotics."

The efficacy of the combined therapy in vivo, according to the researchers, was attributable to the formation of phage-resistant mutants with antimicrobial resensitization, which was then followed by targeted treatment with the resensitized antibiotic.

"We believe further research in the field is likely to lead to the discovery of innovative uses of combination therapies using phages and antibiotics in combination, rather than proposing phages as a substitute to antibiotics," said Dr. Barr.

Phage treatment for resistant infections is still a work in progress. While phages can be highly useful in treating some illnesses, they are not a “magic bullet” that will treat all infections or replace antibiotics.


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