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Phages may be key in bacteria battle

At the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia, patients are treated for all kinds of bacterial infections with viruses called phages. In most places in the world antibiotics are given for these infections.

One patient says he regularly uses phages to treat a recurring eye infection.

"I've tried everything. I've even had operations on my eye but nothing helped. But this does help," he says.

Phages are naturally occurring viruses that kill bacteria. Once they get into bacterial cells the phages' DNA replicates until it kills the host.

Doctors in Georgia, and in other countries that were in the former USSR, have been using this therapy for 90 years. But medics and drug regulatory bodies in most places in the developed world have been reluctant to accept that it works.

Now that more and more bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, the pharmaceutical industry is showing an interest in phage therapy.

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