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Nanotweezers manipulate bacteriophages with minimal optical power, a breakthrough for phage therapy

Date: 28.2.2024 

Scientists at EPFL have developed a game-changing technique that uses light to manipulate and identify individual bacteriophages without the need for chemical labels or bioreceptors, potentially accelerating and revolutionizing phage-based therapies that can treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Kredit: Nicolas Villa/EPFL.Phage therapy, the use of bacteriophages to combat bacterial infections, is gaining attraction as a viable alternative to traditional antibiotics. But there is a catch: Finding the right phage for a given infection is like searching for a needle in a haystack, while current methods involve cumbersome culturing, time-consuming assays.

Now, scientists at EPFL, in collaboration with the CEA Grenoble and the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) have developed on-chip nanotweezers that can trap and manipulate individual bacteria and virions (the infectious form of a virus) using a minimal amount of optical power.

The research also has implications beyond phage therapy. Being able to manipulate and study single virions in real time opens up new avenues in microbiological research, offering scientists a powerful tool for rapid testing and experimentation. This could lead to a deeper understanding of viruses and their interactions with hosts, which is invaluable in the ongoing battle against infectious diseases.

Image source: Nicolas Villa/EPFL.





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