Phages, the natural viral adversaries of bacteria, have been locked in an ancient battle since the dawn of time. This relentless evolutionary struggle has taken on renewed significance in the face of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, commonly known as superbugs. The widespread overuse and misuse of antibiotics have made antibiotic-resistant bacteria a grave global health threat.
Evolutionary biologist Paul Turner’s groundbreaking research centers on using phage therapy to tackle the modern challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Phage therapy works by treating bacteria, like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with phages. These viruses infect the bacteria, killing most of them off, until they evolve in a way that makes them susceptible to conventional antibiotics. It’s biological trickery at its best!
This approach holds immense promise in the ongoing battle against antibiotic resistance. It not only targets specific superbugs but also addresses the risk of perpetuating further drug resistance, a concern associated with conventional antibiotics. By utilizing phage therapy, Paul’s work offers a glimpse into a future where we can outsmart and ultimately overcome the resilient superbugs that threaten public health.
Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University; Professor of Microbiology at Yale School of Medicine
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