Pond Virus Could Treat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Bacteriophage may eventually treat severe burns, surgical wounds, cystic fibrosis, and other immunocompromising conditions.

Researchers recently discovered a virus, called bacteriophage, in a pond that has the ability to attack an antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, the virus can attach to the cell membrane where the bacteria pumps out antibiotics, which is how antibiotic resistance occurred. Researchers discovered that the virus’ presence causes changes in the bacterial membrane and makes it less efficient at pumping out the antibiotics.

This change makes the bacterial more susceptible to antibiotics.

"We have been looking for natural products that are useful in combating important pathogens," said researcher Paul Turner, PhD. "What's neat about this virus is it binds to something the organism needs to become pathogenic, and backs it into an evolutionary corner such that it becomes more sensitive to currently failing antibiotics."

Researchers said this virus could be used with antibiotics to treat P. aeruginosa infections in patients with severe burns, surgical wounds, cystic fibrosis, and other immunocompromising conditions.

Researchers concluded that other phages show promise to stop bacterial pathogens that affect plant and animal agricultures, as well as ones that contaminate pipes and equipment in food manufacturing.