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Friendly Viruses Protect Us Against Bacteria

Bacteria can be friends and foes—causing infection and disease, but also helping us slim down and even combating acne. Now, a new study reveals that viruses have a dual nature as well. For the first time, researchers have shown that they can help our bodies fight off invading microbes.

"This is a very important story," says Marilyn Roossinck, a viral ecologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved in the work. "We don't have all that many examples of beneficial viruses."

One of our most important lines of defense against bacterial invaders is mucus. The slimy substance coats the inside of the mouth, nose, eyelids, and digestive tract, to name just a few places, creating a barrier to the outside world.
 
 

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