Are bacteria-feeding viruses known as phages the kryptonite antimicrobial resistance researchers have been searching for?
Maybe. Yale University microbiologist Benjamin Chan’s findings on the viruses show promise. In 2013, Chan created a cocktail of phages and antibiotics that was used to successfully treat a patient with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. The phage weakened the bacterium’s defenses, making it once again vulnerable to antibiotics.
Chan and his colleagues are prepping a clinical trial to further investigate the limits of phage use. However, critics say phages are difficult to mass-produce and, if used regularly, could soon become as ineffective as antibiotics.