logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Can You Fight Bacteria with Viruses?

Bacteriophages, viruses that fight bacteria, may help physicians reduce the burden of antibiotic resistance by offering an alternative to overcome infection.
Can You Fight Bacteria with Viruses?
Human icon in flat style bacteriophage medical

Antibiotic resistance has become a global concern. But Mother Nature has come up with a fascinating option for overcoming bacterial infection: viruses that fight bacteria.

Using Viruses to Fight Bacteria:

Viruses called bacteriophages target specific germs without doing damage to host tissue. They have been used for more than half a century in countries like Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine.

Now, researchers from George Mason and Colorado State University have tested specific viruses to treat intestinal infections. The PHAGE study included 31 people with severe intestinal distress (American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, Boston, June 10, 2018). Volunteers took either targeted viruses or placebo in daily capsules for one month. After two weeks without any pills (known as a wash-out period), they received the opposite treatment.

Less Inflammation and Better Gut Bacteria:

The scientists noted decreases in inflammation and healthy changes in gut ecology in the volunteers taking bacteriophage viruses. There were no side effects from this therapy. If more bacteriophage therapies can be developed and accepted to fight bacteria, antibiotic resistance might become less of a threat.

Rate this article
4.8- 18 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Get the latest health news right in your inbox

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

Screenshots of The People's Pharmacy website on mobile devices of various sizes
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.