"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
It may come as good news to learn that the bacteria that make us sick can get sick too. Somehow it seems only right that they get a little of their own medicine, so to speak. And it may well be that making disease causing bacteria sick is just the medicine we need.
The fact that bacteria have their own microscopic enemies was first discovered in 1925. Antibiotics were far in the future, so scientists began to learn about the bacteria's enemies in order to start some real germ warfare against other germs. They hoped their efforts would lead to cures for pneumonia, tuberculosis, cholera and diphtheria. But no one was able to perfect a treatment that worked.
Today our much more advanced medical research has again become interested in this subject, since more bacteria seem to resist our best antibiotics. Research is centering on viruses called bacteriophages, which literally means "bacteria eaters." An hour after a bacteriophage has infected a bacterium and reproduced within it, it kills that bacteria and moves on to others. In tests, bacteriophages have proven more effective than antibiotics in curing some livestock infections. And since they are alive, bacteriophages are passed from one animal to another, sharing the disease resistance.
Once again we are learning from our Creator how to ease human suffering.
Notes: Dixon, Bernard. 1984. "Attack of the Phages." Science 84, June. p. 66.
Photo: Electron micrograph of bacteriophages attached to a bacterial cell.
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