The study found that “phage cocktail therapy” can be effective in treating foot ulcer infection in diabetic patients.

Although the new crown virus is the target of “everyone’s call”in 2020, certain types of phages are still expected to play an active role. A team of researchers at Flinders University, for example, thought of it as a way to deal with a diabetic-induced foot ulcer infection. It is reported that in the context of antibiotic abuse, many bacteria have evolved to be quite resistant, leading to some infected patients due to the lack of “ultimate weapon” to regret.

Study illustration (from Flinders University)

Scientists have been trying to find more effective treatments to combat “superbugs.” The Flinders University team, however, looked at a tiny virus, the phage.

There are abundant forms of life on Earth, but phages are quite unique. Because it can infect bacteria and replicate them.

Previous studies have shown that certain types of phages are resistant to bacterial infections and are used by doctors for inhalation treatment of pneumonia.

In a new study published in the British Medical Council’s Journal of Microbiology, the team from Flinders University in Australia successfully used phages to target staphylococcus infections that can lead to foot ulcers in diabetics.

For a large number of people with diabetes, if they are unfortunately infected with a wound and are not treated effectively, they can eventually lead to amputation or even death.

Effect sphage AB-SA01 on wound healing (from BMC Microbiology)

Vancomycin is still commonly used in current clinical treatment, but bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to it. During the experiment, however, the researchers used “cocktail therapy”, a mixture of three phage sphagy, to attack Staphylococcus aureus.

It was found that this solution also produced an ideal therapeutic effect in the body of mice infected with ulcers. Study co-author Garedew Kifelow says:

In staphylococcus aureus infections that are resistant to multiple drugs, phage effectively reduces bacterial load and significantly improves wound healing, with the same or better results than current antibiotic prescription therapies.

Although more tests are needed to eventually bring the treatment to the clinic, the team has yet to find other side effects. And in addition to topical therapy, we can also think of other forms of application of phage therapy.

Study co-author Peter Speck added: ‘Next, we’ll combine phages with dressings to make a specific antibacterial dressing with staphylococcus.

The biggest advantage of this technology is its ability to be stored at room temperature (combined phages can survive for up to a year) and are well suited for use in hospitals and clinics, as well as in rural and remote areas.