The lead scientist in research to identify viruses that can combat an infectious bug in hospitals has said the current goal for the project is to create a pill or capsule, to deliver the antibiotic alternative directly into patients.
Dr Martha Clokie from the University of Leicester has been part of research into the viruses that fight against suberbug, Clostridium difficile.
She believes capsules containing the bacteriophages would be the best way to attack the illness.
C diff bacteria primarily affect our digestive system… C diff infections can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. Collectively, these symptoms can prove life-threatening, particularly in elderly patients.
– Dr Martha Clokie, University of Leicester
(Traditional antibiotics)... are routinely used to treat C diff infections in the UK, but resistance to both is rapidly increasing. What is worse, in addition to killing the C diff bacteria, these antibiotics also destroy the 'good' gut bacteria, in turn increasing the potential for relapse or new infections. Consequently, C diff infections pose a substantial healthcare burden for the NHS and a significant drain on its resources.
The key advantage of using phages over antibiotics lies in their specificity. A phage will infect and kill only a specific strain/species of bacteria.