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Reversing antibiotic resistance in mice

Phage therapy

UK researchers have successfully used a virus-based therapy to fight off infections from multi-drug-resistant bacteria in mice, marking another important step in tackling antibiotic resistance.

The study at the University of Liverpool, focused on the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is on the World Health Organization’s list of ‘priority pathogens’ that pose the biggest risk to human health.

The bacteria is responsible for major hospital-acquired infections and has developed resistance to multiple antibiotics – meaning drugs no longer work to kill the bacteria.

Using mice, the researchers tested a therapy based on bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages. This phage therapy has already been touted as an alternative to antibiotics, but previously it was not understood how well it would work against P. aeruginosa in the body.

The team found that the treatment not only cleared the infection in the blood, kidneys and spleen of the animals, but simultaneously made the bacteria sensitive to antibiotics again, which is ‘game changing’, said Professors Jo Fothergill and Aras Kadioglu, at Liverpool.

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