Mycobacterium abscessus, a relative of the bacteria that cause tuberculosis and leprosy, is responsible for particularly severe damage to human lungs and can be resistant to many standard antibiotics, making infections extremely challenging to treat. However, there is hope. Bacteria are vulnerable to naturally occurring viruses, called bacteriophages; for every species of bacteria, there is a unique bacteriophage that will destroy it. Scientists are testing new therapies that combine bacteriophages with the antibiotics that we currently use, to treat antibiotic-resistant infections. In their current Disease Models & Mechanisms article, Laurent Kremer and colleagues from Université de Montpellier, France, and University of Pittsburgh, USA, investigate the antibacterial effects of a new combination therapy, treating infections caused by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria M. abscessus with a bacteriophage and an antibiotic.
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