Virology

Virus dynamics in human lungs

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Science  19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6241, pp. 1328
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6241.1328-f

People with cystic fibrosis suffer from progressive bacterial lung infections, often by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This occurs despite a diversity of viruses, known as bacteriophage, that attack these bacteria. For more than 2 years, James et al. followed the ecological dynamics of active bacteriophage in the sputa of 10 people with cystic fibrosis. Overall, ongoing lysis triggered by bacteriophage reduced bacterial density in the lung. Different patients' sputa contained different combinations of phage strains, indicating that these different strains compete. Phage may also exclude infection by different strains of P. aeruginosa, which might influence disease among patients. These results indicate that phage may show some therapeutic promise in combination with specific antibiotics.

ISME J. 9, 1391 (2015).

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