Viral infections can save millions of lives

Bacterial infections: Researchers at the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi

Bacterial infections: Researchers at the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi.

It may be strange after a pandemic that killed millions and turned the world upside down, but illnesses can save many lives.

In a petri dish in an office building in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, a battle is raging between antibiotic -resistant bacteria and “friendly” diseases.

This small nation in the Caucasus has begun research on a way to deal with the bacteria’s nightmare against the antibiotic drugs on which the world relies.

Long unnoticed in the West, bacteriophages or bacterial strains have been used on some of the most difficult medical cases, with a Belgian woman developing a life -threatening disease. after being injured in the 2016 Brussels airport bombing.

After two years of antibiotic treatment, the bacteriophages from Tbilisi cured his disease within three months.

“We use those phages to kill bacteria” to cure diseases when antibiotics run out, Mzia Kutateladze of the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages told AFP.

A banal infection can “kill a patient because the pathogen has developed resistance to antibiotic drugs,” Kutateladze said.

In those cases, phagotherapy “is one of the best options”, he adds.

Phages had been known for hundreds of years, but was largely forgotten and released after antibiotics were replaced by medicine in the 1930s.

Stalin’s henchman

The man who worked hard to develop them did not help, the Georgian scientist Giorgi Eliava, who was assassinated in 1937 at the behest of a Georgian, Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s most famous henchman and the head of his secret police.

Eliava worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris with French-Canadian microbiologist Felix d’Herelle, one of the two men known to have seen the phages, and Stalin insisted on inviting her to Tbilisi in 1934.

But their union was cut off when Beriah killed Elijah, although the cause was not known.

With the World Health Organization now declaring antimicrobial resistance a global health problem, phages are on the rise, even though they can direct bacterial infection in human cells.

New research has shown that superbugs can kill as many as 10 million people a year when antimicrobial resistance due to excessive use of drugs reaches a tipping point. It can come in three years.

Pioneer: Mzia Kutateladze, director of the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi, Georgia

Pioneer: Mzia Kutateladze, director of the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Learn the virus

While phage medications cannot completely replace antibiotic medications, researchers say they are the best to buy, with no side effects or side effects or side effects or side effects. .

“We produce six standard phages of the broad spectrum that can cure many diseases,” said Eliava Institute physician Lia Nadareishvili.

About 10 to 15 percent of patients, however, do not have normal phages and “we need to look for things that can kill the bacterial infection,” he added.

Phages that have been diagnosed with minor diseases can be selected from the institute’s large collection – the world’s most valuable – or can be found in water or contaminated water or soil, he said. a Kutateladze.

The institute can “train” the phages so that “they can kill more serious infections.”

“It’s a simple and easy treatment,” he said.

Final treatment

A 34 -year -old American mechanic who has been battling bacterial infections for six years told AFP he “thinks progress” after two weeks at a school in Tbilisi.

“I’ve tried all sorts of medications in the United States,” said Andrew, who gives his first name.

It is one of hundreds of patients from around the world who come to Georgia each year for treatment of end -stage renal disease, Nadareishvili said.

With the rapid demise of old antimicrobial forces, more medical research is needed to make phagotherapy acceptable, Kutateladze said.

In 2019, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a clinical study on the use of bacteriophages to treat secondary infections in COVID patients.

In addition to medicine, phages have been used to stop the passage of food, and “can be used in agriculture to protect plants and animals from harmful diseases,” he said. a Kutateladze.

The institute had previously done research on bacteria that point to cotton and rice.

Bacteriophages can fight biological weapons and fight bioterrorism, with Canadian researchers publishing a 2017 study about using them to fight an anthrax attack in public places.

Fighting against antibiotics and phages

© 2022 AFP

Directions: Diseases That Could Save Millions of Lives (2022, April 4) Retrieved 4 April 2022 from

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