The total number of Bacteriophages are more than the total number of every other organism combined. We can say that they are probably everywhere, countless number of Bacteriophage are on your hand and in your intestines even in your mouth right now. Which might make your nervous since phages are responsible for the majority of deaths on earth. But there is no need to worry as they do commit genocide for living, they only kill bacteria.
Up to 40% of all bacteria in the oceans are killed by the bacteriophage every single day. Anyway, phages also have some major flaws like any other virus, The Bacteriophage need a host to survive and reproduce. Usually, a phage has chosen one specifics bacteria and maybe some of its very close relatives as their prey.
When a bacteriophage finds it’s prey bacteria, it connects its tail fibres with receptors and uses a sort of syringe to puncture a surface. In a weird motion, the phage squeezes its tail and injects its DNA, the genetic information of itself. Within minutes, The bacteria is taken over by the predator bacteriophage. After that, the bacteriophage starts to make its clone inside the bacteria. In the final stage, they produce ‘endolysin’, a powerful enzyme that punches a hole in the bacteria and causes the death of bacteria releasing all thousands of newly made bacteriophage to repeat the process with other bacteria.
In the last few years, many research has been done to understand and study bacteriophage and to use them for our benefits. Recently, we have started looking into injecting millions of them into our bodies to understand more. In past, a single cut or a sip from the wrong puddle could kill you because of Bacterias as they cause infections that lead to death. We can say Bacteria were our phages. But then, about 100 years ago. we found a solution in nature that is “FUNGI”. Fungi produce antibiotics, these compounds can kill bacteria.
Suddenly we had a powerful superweapon. Antibiotics were so effective that we stopped thinking of bacteria as our problem like they are nothing. We start to use antibiotic more and more for less and less serious causes. Bacteria are living things means they evolve due to that they started to become immune against Antibiotics. This evolution process of bacteria continued and in the end “Superbugs” come into existence.
Superbug is a bacteria that immune to almost everything we have. That means the days when a cut or an infection could kill you or your beloved one are coming back. It is estimated that by 2050 superbugs could kill more humans a year than cancer. So what we are going to do about it?
The Bacteriophage, Yes, The Bacteriophage could save us all, the tiny killer virus robots. We can inject them into our bodies to help cure infections. But the millions dollar question is How could injecting millions of viruses into an infection be a good idea?
Bacteriophages are very very specialized killers of bacteria, so specialized that humans are completely immune to them, actually, we encounter billions of Bacteriophages every day. Antibiotics are like carpet bombing, killing everything even the good bacteria in our intestines that we don’t want to harm. But Bacteriophages are like guided missiles that only attack what they are supposed to. This makes Bacteriophages smart weapons against the bad bacterias.
This has already been successfully tested with a patient. The bacteria ” Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”, one of the most feared bacteria, infected the man’s chest cavity. They are mostly resistant to most antibiotics and can even survive an alcoholic hand gel. A few thousand Bacteriophages were directly inserted into his chest cavity together with antibiotics the bacteria were immune to. After a few weeks, the patient was cured, the infractions had completely disappeared.
Unfortunately, this treatment is still experimental and pharma companies are still reluctant to invest the necessary money required in a treatment that has no official approval yet. But things are finally changing. In 2016, the largest Bacteriophage clinical trial to date began and Bacteriophages are getting more and more attention. It might be a weird concept but injecting the deadliest being on the planet Earth directly into our bodies could save millions of lives.