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Thread: Can viruses help to combat bacterial infections?

  1. #1 Can viruses help to combat bacterial infections? 
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    Bacterial infections are big problems in hospitals and communities. Can Bacteriophages be used to treat bacterial infections?


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  3. #2  
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    Yes, google it in google scholar.


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    Very useful, thanks for that. come on now, im trying to spark a debate. you cant spend your whole life googling!!
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    There is a good Wiki article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phage_therapy
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  6. #5  
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    Ok, so why is a small country like Georgia permitting the use of these bacteriophages in bacterial infection in humans, and no other countries? (according to that article). Exposing an infected patient with a secondary infection could have major implications.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Because Georgia is advanced, and the rest of us are backward barbarians.
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  8. #7  
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    I seem to recall hearing that the Russians did similar research going back a few decades- possibly state-sponsored. It may not have been as well-accepted amongst the capitalist dogs because it's rather hard to patent a naturally occurring virus!
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  9. #8  
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    Or medicinal maggots.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    [quote="TheBiologista"]I seem to recall hearing that the Russians did similar research going back a few decades- possibly state-sponsored. It may not have been as well-accepted amongst the capitalist dogs because it's rather hard to patent a naturally occurring virus![/quote

    Ya, what I learned in school was that all the research on phage therapy had been done in the Soviet Union, but that they hadn't really had all that much success with it. Research is apparently being continued in Poland, Russia, and other former Soviet Republics, but I don't think much of what gets published is translated.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty2406
    Very useful, thanks for that. come on now, im trying to spark a debate. you cant spend your whole life googling!!
    Well, gee willikers Rusty, seeing as that was your first post - go ahead and reread it and see if it doesn't sound just like a homework question.

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    Potential bio-hazard could emerge from this action. During the evolution process, virus didn't acquire a possibility to attack certain bacterium which affect human beings. Modifying the genome of virus would certainly do the trick . BUT how can we guarantee the virus-modified doesn't turn to us ..
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    Yes of course, gene therapy could potentially be one method for altering these viruses for use on human, however, the question still stands. As you can imagine the size and functionality of viruses, there would need to be an extremely high dose of infection for the patient. Surely having a large viral infection in a patient already infected is going to cause damage. Other problems like you mentioned could be viralance factors from the destroyed bacterium, and the replication of viruses in vivo, not to mention the stereotypical mutation of viruses due to the inadequacy of it's reverse trancriptase. So, is Georgia more medically advanced than other countries?
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  14. #13  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty2406
    Yes of course, gene therapy could potentially be one method for altering these viruses for use on human, however, the question still stands. As you can imagine the size and functionality of viruses, there would need to be an extremely high dose of infection for the patient. Surely having a large viral infection in a patient already infected is going to cause damage.
    Only a risk if the virus has a tropism for human cells as well as a capacity to replicate within, which is not impossible but then such a virus would not be the first choice for such a therapy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty2406
    Other problems like you mentioned could be viralance factors from the destroyed bacterium,
    That's a problem for antibiotics too, surely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty2406
    and the replication of viruses in vivo, not to mention the stereotypical mutation of viruses due to the inadequacy of it's reverse trancriptase.
    Replication in human tissues would depend on the factors I mentioned before. Otherwise the viruses would replicate exclusively within the bacterial population, and die off as they die off.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty2406
    So, is Georgia more medically advanced than other countries?
    Not at all, they're just trying a very different strategy. Do you have any numbers on how effective it is versus antibiotics?
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Bacteriophages are fairly distant from any animal viruses for the risk of crossover to be practically impossible. In fact, they are often strain specific, in that they rarely effect more than a couple strains of a bacterial species.

    As far as I know the major barrier has been delivery. It is easy to kill a plate of bacteria on an agar dish with viruses, but getting at them in a tricky place like the intestines is another matter.

    edit: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v2...bt0104-31.html
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  16. #15  
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    From what I imagine, Georgia being the only country that permits the uses of phage therapy (wiki), compared to the whole world and it's uses of antibiotics, i think that antibiotics win that one.

    That's a problem for antibiotics too, surely?
    I guess it depends on what antibiotic, stopping the formation of the cell wall prevent the cells from being replicated, however viruses obviously have different methods, and would this effect the health of patient? With antibiotics you also have the added problems in destroying commensal bacteria leaving free space for opportunistic infections, and how do they reach somewhere like the intestines? how does delivery become a problem?
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