King Kong vs. Godzilla? How about bacteria vs. fungi!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science
Saying, if much smaller, their battle is an age-old story. And, good for us—antibiotics made from penicillium and other fungi have saved countless lives.
But antibiotics ain’t what they used to be. Many bacteria are becoming drug-resistant. Diseases like staph and tuberculosis are making scary comebacks.
Luckily, bacteria have another enemy: bacteriophages, also known as phages. These are viruses that only strike bacteria. Phages commandeer bacteria by injecting their own genetic material, turning the bacteria into virus-making factories.
Enter Israeli researcher Udi Qimron. He thought he could use this natural antagonism to create a new class of antibiotics. Specifically, using a phage called T-7 that attacks our old nemesis E. coli. His still-early results are promising.
So will doctors inject us with live viruses? Nope. A single protein will do. Qimron and his colleagues isolated one from T-7 that shuts down E. coli cell division. If it can’t divide, it can’t survive—and can't colonize us.
Making for a very boring action movie. Thank goodness.
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