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As The Antibiotic Resistance Problem Grows, Could Viruses Offer A Solution?

Apr 6, 2018

Highly drug resistant gonorrhea has been reported in England. It’s the latest in a growing list of superbugs that are becoming resistant to last-resort antibiotics.

For much of the last century, doctors have been able to cure many once-fatal bacterial infections with a simple course of meds. But over the years, diseases have evolved and even the best drugs aren’t enough to combat the deadly bacteria.

This hour, we ask an infectious disease specialist--how worried should we be?

And we talk with two Yale scientists who are researching a novel approach to address the antibiotics crisis. 

They are reviving a long-forgotten therapy of using viruses to fight deadly bacteria, and use the superbugs’ own evolutionary biology against them in the process.

They recently described their successful treatment of a Connecticut patient--whose heart was infected with antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa--in a paper published the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health.

GUESTS:

  • Dr. Nicholas Bennett - Division Head of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
  • Dr. Paul Turner - Dean of Science and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University
  • Dr. Benjamin Chan - Associate Research Scientist in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University

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Chion Wolf contributed to this show.