By Sy Mukherjee
May 8, 2019

Hello and happy hump day, readers!

A new study published in the journal Nature finds that, for the first time, scientists have successfully used a genetically modified virus to fight a bacteria resistant to traditional treatments like antibiotics – and in a human patient, no less.

This battle of the microorganisms (one modified by humans directly, one modified via evolution over the course of decades in response to, well, human activity) played out in a teenage patient named Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway. She suffers from the rare lung disease cystic fibrosis and caught her antibiotic-resistant infection following a lung transplant necessitated by her condition.

As a last resort, she was given a genetically modified cocktail of three viruses that, while not curing her completely, has significantly improved her quality of life, according to her physicians.

Only time will tell if the treatment is effective over the long term or if the offending bacteria will adapt to those viruses as it has to more traditional therapies. And, of course, this is the case of just one patient.

But the ever-growing threat of drug-resistant superbugs makes innovative approaches like this an absolute necessity when fighting what global health experts have called a ticking time bomb in human disease.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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