(CNN) Twelve types of bacteria were deemed “priorities” in urgent need of new antibiotics, according to a list released by the World Health Organization on Monday.
Phage therapy may finally be gaining ground in the United States. Researchers from Tufts University just reported that a virus cocktail effectively prevents cholera in an animal model.
According to study author Andrew Camilli, “while phage therapy has existed for decades, our study is proof-of-principle that it can be used to protect against infection and intervene in the transmission of disease. We are hopeful that phages can someday be a tool in the public health arsenal that helps decrease the global burden of cholera, which affects up to four million people around the world each year.”
In the gut, in the soil, and myriad other spots, bacteria reign, forming complex communities—but not in isolation. They’re often influenced by bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages. A recent study in Cell now shows how such viruses can infect bystander, virus-resistant bacteria and transfer bits of DNA to them.
Dodge Pond, which sits on the outskirts of East Lyme, Conn., is an ordinary New England lake. It’s home to fish like bluegill and alewife, along with smaller organisms like water fleas, algae, and bacteria. There are viruses in Dodge Pond, too, most of which infect its bacteria. And one of Dodge Pond’s viruses, known as OMKO1, has now earned it a place in medical history.