In the 19th century, bacteriologists found something that could destroy bacteria. In 1915, Frederick Twort, a British microbiologist, conjectured that it could be a virus and two years later, the Canadian Felix d’Herelle dubbed these organisms as bacteriophages. Then, the idea of using bacteriophages against bacteria or, more precisely, against some pathogenic bacteria that attack humans causing illnesses or even death, has emerged. Now, these viruses could become the solution against superbugs.
Bacteriophages, like any other virus, need a cell to multiply. The common viruses are attracted to the animal cells, including human cells, or plants cells to reproduce inside them, but bacteriophages have made a different choice, as they prefer to attack bacteria.
These viruses attach to the bacteria and run their genetic material, either DNA or RNA, and from that moment on, the entire metabolism of the bacteria is left in the hands of these viruses that use it to multiply. Eventually, millions of microscopic bacteriophages are generated inside the bacteria which explodes suppressed by the multitude of viruses copies.
Antibiotics caused the decline of the bacteriophages and the increase of superbugs
When the antibiotics were invented, they represented a more straightforward solution against the harmful bacteria. Thus, the use of bacteriophages declined, and so did their populations. Humans started to use antibiotics recklessly, and bacteria showed greater adaptability than expected and many of these microorganisms became antibiotic-resistant bacteria or superbugs.
Therefore, the antibiotics are not anymore a 100 percent reliable solution against bacteria and the illnesses triggered by these microorganisms. Luckily, the scientists returned to bacteriophages in the fight against superbugs.
As we speak, the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia, and the Intralytix Institute in Baltimore, MD, in the USA, are the spearhead of the marketing of bacteriophage-based medications. They have already developed strong medicines based on bacteriophages ready to fight against harmful bacteria and superbugs.
For the moment, these medications are successfully used in the decontamination of food and the environment or veterinary medicine, as well as in human medicine.
In the next few years, it is expected that the market for the medications based on bacteriophages will grow and will become the best solution against superbugs.