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The Good Virus review: Could viruses cure deadly infections?

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T-bacteriophages on E.coli. Coloured Transmission Electron Micrograph (TEM) of T-bacteriophage viruses attacking a bacterial cell of Escherichia coli. Seven virus particles are seen (blue), each with a head and a tail. Four of these are "sitting" on the brown bacterial cell and small blue "tails" of genetic material (DNA) are seen being injected into the bacterium. T-bacterio- phages are parasites of bacterial cells. The virus attaches itself to the cell's wall and, using it's tail as a syringe, injects it's own DNA into the bacterium. The virus DNA then takes over the bacterial cell, forcing it to produce more viruses. Magnification: x63,000 at 5x7cm size.

Bacteriophage viruses attacking an E. coli bacterium

EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The Good Virus
Tom Ireland (Hodder & Stoughton)

EVERY so often I remember that I should be scared, not just of climate change and creeping authoritarianism, but also of antibiotic resistance. As bacteria acquire the ability to fend off ever more antibiotics, we risk returning to a time when a simple bacterial infection could mean death.

To tackle the threat, some researchers are developing new antibiotics to replace the old ones that no longer work. It is expensive and time-consuming. What if there was …



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