STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Phage therapy. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of various bacteriophages from a mixed phage theraputic sample. Phage therapy is the therapeutic use of bacteriophages to treat pathogenic bacterial infections. Phage therapy has many potential applications in human medicine as well as dentistry, veterinary science, and agriculture. Bacteriophages are much more specific than antibiotics. They are typically harmless not only to the host organism, but also to other beneficial bacteria, such as the gut flora, reducing the chances of opportunistic infections. Because phages replicate in vivo, a smaller effective dose can be used. On the other hand, this specificity is also a disadvantage: a phage will only kill a bacterium if it is a match to the specific strain. Consequently, phage mixtures are often applied to improve the chances of success. Magnification: x6000 @ 10 centimetres wide.
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