Bitten by the bug

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I was interested to hear about Prime Minister David Cameron’s concerns about the rise in bacterial resistance and the dangers that will pose for global health.

Twenty years ago I taught my Higher human biology students about this very problem and showed them a video called A Virus That Cures.

This dealt with “phage medicines” which were prevalent in the former Soviet republics, with a database of phages held in Georgia.

Bacteria have viruses called bacteriophages which destroy the bacterial coat thereby eliminating the bacterium.

The West preferred to use antibiotics to which we now know bacteria can develop immunity.

“Big bugs have little bugs upon their backs to bite ’em and little bugs have littler bugs and so ad infinitum.”

Perhaps the sophisticated “West” should look back at the work done on phages and find out if this could be the saviour.

Lindsay Craig

Colinton Mains Green

Edinburgh