Today’s word of the day is brought to you by Emilia Czysczcon, a Purdue University bioengineering student who collected some mud from a cave for a project and ended up discovering a new bacteriophage virus.
A bacteriophage (a.k.a. phage) is a virus that invades bacteria and replicates itself thereby killing the bacteria. This may have huge implications for medicine. Despite being a virus, it is completely harmless to humans. It may, however, be used to attack bacteria that is harmful to humans, like tuberculosis. It sounds really weird, but we should be able to inject ourselves with an engineered virus to attack a harmful bacteria in our system.
The science behind bacteriophages is either really advanced or in its infancy depending on who you ask. Phage therapy was showing good promise in Russia before the advent of the antibiotic. With the emergence of superbugs that are immune to antibiotics, though, you can expect phage therapy treatments to start becoming popular once again. And we will have scientists like Emilia to lead the way!