Dr Manal Mohammed, who teaches Medical Microbiology, wrote an article for The Conversation in collaboration with Dr Andrew Millard from the University of Leicester about how viruses can be reengineered to cure bacterial infections.
In the article, Dr Mohammed and Dr Millard discuss the issue of antibiotic resistance and warned that we are on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”.
They outlined how viruses that infect and kill bacteria, known as bacteriophages (phages), may be a possible alternative to antibiotics. They wrote: “Bacteriophages can survive in many environments, including deep sea trenches and the human gut. While phages are efficient killers of bacteria, they don’t infect human cells and are harmless to humans.”
They added: “Lytic bacteriophages are preferred for treatment because they don’t integrate into the bacterial host’s chromosome. But it is not always possible to develop lytic bacteriophages that can be used against all types of bacteria.”
Dr Mohammed and Dr Millard indicated that for bacteriophages to become commonplace for curing infections, there needs to be more research into the area of how bacteriophages interact with bacteria.