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Virus hope for super-bug treatment

Thursday October 17th, 2013

Viruses could be used to treat patients treated with a hospital super-bug, researchers revealed today.


The viruses have been identified by researchers at Leicester University and seem to devour Clostridium difficile bacteria.

The researchers say a mixture of viruses, known as phages or bacteriophages, can destroy 90% of the C.difficile strains that infect British patients.

The university has now signed a deal with a private company, AmpliPhi, to develop the treatment with the aim of trials on human patients.

The Medical Research Council, which has backed the research, said the development was "impressive."

Researcher Dr Martha Clokie said: “The use of phage-based therapy could eliminate the negative impact of antibiotics on the gut flora, minimise chances of relapse, provide patients with an effective, lasting safeguard against these life-threatening bacteria and relieve a substantial portion of the health-care and financial burden this superbug poses on the NHS.

"Ultimately, I hope this will pave the way for a greater use of bacteriophages in the wider, global fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Dr Des Walsh, of the Medical Research Council, said: "Antibacterial resistance is a major and growing threat to health globally. New treatments and therapies are sorely needed.

"This study by Dr Clokie examines a new way to kill bacteria to circumvent resistance formation.

"She has established an impressive collection of phage viruses and has developed strong partnerships to translate her research into potential new treatments for Clostridium difficile infection – an excellent example of moving basic experimental MRC funded research along the development pipeline.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | MRSA & Hygiene | UK News

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