Can a bacterial virus from Jerusalem sewage prevent root canal infections?

Can a bacterial virus from Jerusalem sewage prevent root canal infections?

This is bacteriophage EFDG1 visualized by transmission electron microscopy at a magnification of 20,000 -- 30,000 times. Note that some phages are still bound to remains of the dead bacteria. Credit: (Photo: Ronen Hazan of Hebrew University)

The world of science and medicine is ever fascinating in developing innovative ways to fight disease. Due to the increasing incidents of fatal drug-resistant infections, new solutions to antimicrobial resistance are urgently needed.

Researchers from the Dental Medicine department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been researching a way to reverse the effects of harmful bacteria which infect humans by infecting the bacteria itself with bacterial viruses (bacteriophages). In particular a bacteriophage cultivated from local sewage.

The overuse of antibiotics has lead a seemingly inexorable rise in drug-resistant bacteria which can cause serious illness or worse. Overgrowth of one such pathogen, called Enterococus faecalis, is often found in post treatment root canal infections. Antiobiotics may become less effective, especially against some strains so using a 'phage' is an exciting and promising alternative.

In experiments the phage which researchers had isolated from sewage effluents was highly effective in eradicating different forms of the E faecalis pathogen.

The origins of many medicines can seem repugnant but so often, effective cures come from murky places. In fact, phage therapy was first proposed over 100 years ago but was overshadowed at the time by the rise of the wondrous antibiotics. Let's home that this promising research comes to fruition as it could be an extremely valuable tool for a post-antibiotic world.

Read more here, in this article about the research into targeting E faecalis using phage therapy.

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