Genetically engineered viruses treat superbug infection for 1st time

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Scientists successfully treated a patient's antibiotic-resistant infection using a genetically engineered virus for the first time, reports NPR.

Physicians turned to the experimental treatment to save 17-year-old Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway, a cystic fibrosis patient in England who contracted a life-threatening infection after a lung transplant in 2017.

Scientists used three bacteriophages to make the treatment, including one that could kill Mycobacterium abscessus — the bacteria causing Isabelle's infection. The team genetically modified these phages to maximize their ability to identify and kill this bacteria before combining them into a treatment cocktail for Isabelle. Researchers detailed this process in an article published May 8 in Nature Medicine.

Isabelle is not completely cured and still receives infusions of the treatment twice a day. However, she has made significant strides in her recovery and now lives a near-normal life.

Physicians and scientists said they hope Isabelle's case will encourage others to conduct more research on the use of phages to treat superbug infections.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Nurse granted London Marathon record after public outcry
NYC cites 84 people for refusing measles vaccines
How hospitals are preventing device-related infections

Copyright © 2021 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars