Researchers successfully use bacterial viruses to fight C. diff infections

A team from the University of Leicester in England reports using bacterial virus cocktails to combat Clostridium difficile actually prevents the infections from taking hold to begin with. Their research is published in Frontiers in Microbiology.

When the bacterial viruses — or bacteriophages — were administered to waxworms as a preventive measure, they reduced bacterial counts in the worms. When combined with the antibiotic vancomycin, there was a signification decrease in C. diff colonization.

"The results suggest that it may be possible to reduce the threat of C. difficile, and potentially other bacterial infections, through the use of phages both prophylactically to prevent infection, and as therapy once an infection is established," Martha Clokie, PhD, lead author on the study, said in a statement. "Phage therapy targets specific pathogenic bacterial populations while sparing patients' beneficial microbiome."

As of yet the cocktails have not been tried in humans, but the authors write that establishing their efficacy in insects will provide crucial understanding of how to best adapt them for potential hospital use. 

More articles on infection control:
Cocktails of bacterial viruses attack C. diff while leaving healthy gut bugs unharmed
Many superbug deaths in US go uncounted: 4 things to know
Finding the right formula for HAI reduction success

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