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Why Scientists Are Trying Viruses To Beat Back Bacteria

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Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.

Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-destroying powers to treat infections with Clostridium difficile, a germ that that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Over the last six years, microbiologist Martha Clokie has isolated hundreds of phages that can kill various strains of C. difficile. Now her lab has teamed up with the pharmaceutical company AmpliPhi to try and turn phages into a product, perhaps a pill, that could be used in humans.

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