Home pagePress monitoringPhage viruses can make superbugs susceptible to antibiotics...

Phage viruses can make superbugs susceptible to antibiotics again

Date: 13.1.2021 

Viruses firmly hold the world’s attention at the moment, but we shouldn’t ignore the rising health threat that bacteria pose, too. The crafty critters are fast evolving resistance to antibiotics, meaning our best drugs could soon stop working entirely.

Kredit: University of Jyväskylä.Now researchers in Australia have found a way to bypass drug resistance in these so-called superbugs – by distracting them with predatory viruses.

For the new study, researchers from Monash University set out to find a phage that would target and kill a superbug called Acinetobacter baumannii. This opportunistic bacteria, often acquired in hospitals, is currently priority target number one on the World Health Organization’s hit list.

The team identified a phage from wastewater that almost completely wiped out A. baumannii in lab culture tests. Unfortunately, the effect was short-lived, and it only took a few hours before the bacteria developed resistance to the phages. But there’s an intriguing upside to the story: in developing resistance to phages, the bacteria became vulnerable to antibiotics again.

"A. baumannii produces a capsule, a viscous and sticky outer layer that protects it and stops the entry of antibiotics," says Gordillo Altamirano, lead author of the study. "Our phages use that same capsule as their port of entry to infect the bacterial cell. In an effort to escape from the phages, A. baumannii stops producing its capsule; and that's when we can hit it with the antibiotics it used to resist."





  • BC AV CR
  • Budvar
  • CAVD
  • CZBA
  • Eco Tend
  • Envisan Gem
  • Gentrend
  • JAIP
  • Jihočeská univerzita
  • Madeta
  • Forestina