In DepthInfectious Disease

Engineered phages stymie drug-resistant infection

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Science  10 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6440, pp. 518-519
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6440.518

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For the first time, bacteria-killing viruses called phages have been genetically engineered to treat a drug-resistant infection. The treatment used a cocktail of three phages and was also the first directed at Mycobacterium, a genus that includes tuberculosis (TB). Researchers gave the cocktail to a 15-year-old cystic fibrosis patient who developed the infection, M. abscessus, following a double lung transplant. Once the cocktail was administered, the patient's condition improved dramatically with no serious side effects. Researchers are hopeful the treatment could one day be adapted to treat drug-resistant TB.