Clearing Gut Infections

A look at how phage therapy differs from antibiotic treatment

By | January 1, 2016

Treating infections of the gastrointestinal tract has been one of the most successful uses of phage therapy since its inception. Although antibiotics are the go-to treatment today, concerns about increasing drug resistance and disrupting the microbiome have led researchers to reconsider using bacteria-killing viruses instead.





Phages are highly specified to infect specific bacterial species and thus leave the microbiome unaffected. And because phages have co-evolved with their bacterial hosts, there is a low risk of bacteria evolving resistance to the therapy.

Because antibiotics are relatively indiscriminate killers, they can cause long-lasting changes to the microbiome. Furthermore, overuse of antibiotics can lead to evolution of drug-resistant bacteria.



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