Clearing Gut Infections

A look at how phage therapy differs from antibiotic treatment

Jan 1, 2016
Jyoti Madhusoodanan

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.

 

 

© ANDREW SWIFT, iSO-FORM

 

















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.

© ANDREW SWIFT, iSO-FORM

 

Read the full story.