Phages - Natural Born Killers by primusboy


									Phages - Natural Born Killers
MRSA periodically hits the headlines in most cities throughout the world,
but in any discussion concerning antibiotic-resistant bacteria, more
generically know as MRSA, and of ways to fight them, mention must be made
of bacteriohages, or 'phages' for short. Phages have successfully killed
bacteria, strangely, without the intervention of any scientists, for
billions of years and have evolved benignly alongside humans and animals
for as long as we have been on this planet. There are biblical references
in the Book of Kings to people being told to bathe in rivers to fight
infections. Admittedly, this was just a tad before the electron
microscope came along in the 1930s, but they were on to something (though
the Ancients did not know that phages were extremely specific about which
bacteria they ate).
Fredrick Twort (UK) & Felix d'Herelle (Canadian), also before the
Electron Microscope age, realized that something was eating holes in
bacterial cultures, something so small it could be filtered through
porcelain and safely drunk by humans, but which killed bacteria very
rapidly. Intravenous preparations were used to combat gas gangrene, both
during WW1 and in the years before WW2. During WW2 German & Russian
soldiers carried phages to prevent battlefield infections. Did Allied
doctors ever wonder what they were for, or were they dismissed as being
merely "foreign"?
Phages are the preferred method of treatment by people visiting their
pharmacy in Georgia (Europe). It costs many millions to develop a new
antibiotic, the prolonged use of which, as in cases of MRSA treatment,
often causes liver and other organ damage, not to mention Clostridium
difficile, a nasty infection of the digestive track made possible as
beneficial gut bacteria are killed.
In stark contrast, it is quite cheap and quick to dip a bucket into a
river/sewer and isolate the required phages, adding the new ones to your
phage library. If the bacterium mutates, so do the phages. Phages inflict
no collateral damage either. Clever, eh?
The public and new doctors are being brainwashed by the chemical
companies to regard anything not high tech as quackery, especially
foreign quackery. The U.K. drugs regulatory authority MHRA, which insists
that any phage "medicine" must go through the same rigorous safety
testing as for dangerous drugs, is wholly funded by drug company license
fee payments; strange bedfellows, indeed. As long as this attitude
prevails, phage therapy will eventually become the synthesized domain of
the chemical companies, whose dropping of phages like a hot brick, once
they had mastered antibiotic synthesis, could not possibly be confused
with altruism.
High-tech solutions to killing bacteria are costing the U.K. Health
Services billions of pounds per annum, while they ignore a safe, cheap
but low-tech, simple and effective alternative. Here in the U.K., the
much trumpeted 'Deep Clean' of our hospitals, costing many millions of
pounds, has just finished, as if that were the end of it and all the
bacteria were now dead and gone.
The wily Georgians, those foreigners who kept the phage flag flying all
these years, know this not to be the case, because they regularly, and
cheaply, spray their wards and operating theatres with phages to keep
them clean. Sounds too simple and low tech to work. Oh yeah; so why are
we the ones with an MRSA problem?
The complicity of governments in this tale must not be underestimated
either; the UK chemical & bacterialogical warfare research department
(now privatized), formerly known as Porton Down, has been sniffing around
the Tbilisi phage labs, presumably with a view to bolstering their stocks
of phages available for key personnel protection in the event of germ
warfare. No sign as yet of a few crumbs off the table for poor Joe
Public, despite the 1000's of U.K. MRSA deaths annually. I shouldn't
think the United States government will be too far behind either in their
quest for self preservation; indeed, they are probably well in the fore!
So, as you can see, the trillions of phages on this planet just won't go
away and so deserve not to be left out of any discussion purporting to
examine ways of killing bacteria. Why, after all, they invented the
By Mike Jozefiak
Deepwide Investigates

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