A2: Microbes in the News (Post 2)

Title:  Are viruses the best weapon for fighting superbugs?

Source:  The Conversation

Date Published:  March 6, 2019

Link: https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-the-best-weapon-for-fighting-superbugs-111908

Summary:  This article was written by a physician who is a specialist in infectious disease, he was interested in reviving an alternative to antibiotics called phage therapy (using viruses!). Which is using phages to kill certain harmful bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics that can wipe out good bacteria with the bad.He does point out this technique was tried in the 1920/30’s and had pros and cons but ultimately lost to antibiotics because it was harder to maintain with the limited knowledge of the day. However, now that we know a lot more about phages they can be more effectively utilized to target bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics. This can potentially help prevent ‘superbugs’ or bacteria that is highly antibiotic resistant, and ween America from its extremely high antibiotic dependance.

Connections: We have recently been covering viruses in class and learning about how they operate to infect bacteria which directly relates to this article.

Critical analysis:  I found this article interesting because it helps highlight how phages (or viruses) can be really useful moving forward. The word virus is almost always used with a negative connotation but it is important to realize it can be helpful. I believe the article holds a semblance of accuracy because the author is in fact someone who is a specialist in infectious disease, and highlights the pros with the cons providing an argument from all sides which is important. Also it is simple enough in the jargon that it can be an article shown to the general public and still convey its general message, and stir interest in phage use for medical treatment which I think is the overall goal of an article such as this.

Question:  Do you think people would ever be able to accept using a phage to kill bacteria in their body? Would you be able to?



1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News (Post 2)”



Wow, this article was really enlightening, thank you for sharing. I believe that you are right, viruses do have a negative connotation to them. I believe for that reason (and my lack of knowledge in the area) I had never thought about using them to kill bacteria in your body. I think that people would be more open to using phages when antibiotics stop working. Many people have an ‘if it is not broken, don’t fix it’ mentality, even though there are many cases of resistant strains of bacteria already. People are slow to change. I believe people might be more open to the idea of you named a virus that kills bacteria alone something different, like give it a nickname, so people don’t have that negative connotation associated with it.

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