'Good' virus for common infection

July 29, 2020

Australian researchers have shown how viruses can be used to save lives, developing the potential use of bacteriophages in bandages to treat life-threatening golden staph infections which may not respond to traditional antibiotics.

Targeting multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ('golden staph') in diabetic foot ulcers, Flinders University microbiology researchers have joined infectious diseases and pharmaceutical partners to show the usefulness of a possible 'phage cocktail' therapy on wound infections.

A phage (or bacteriophage) is a virus capable of infecting a bacterial cell and is capable of being used in a range of medical applications including as a therapy against 'superbugs'.

Bacteriophages (phages, viruses that infect bacteria) represent an alternative or adjunct therapy to antibiotics, with S aureus a common and particularly virulent pathogen often found to be resistant and limited for antimicrobial treatment options.

"Diabetic foot ulcers are very dangerous and when infected can lead to amputation and even death," says Flinders University Associate Professor Peter Speck, who is Secretary of the Australasian Virology Society.

"The next step in our research is to bind phages to a dressing to make a truly antibacterial dressing, with specific activity against golden staph. The technology exists to make such a dressing, with a big advantage being that bound phages remain viable for a year even when stored at room temperature, making this approach ideal for use in hospitals and clinics - even in rural and remote settings."

Co-author on a new paper in BMC Microbiology, Flinders PhD Legesse Garedew Kifelew says the results of the sound treatment in mice were very promising.

"This study demonstrates that phage therapy could be a potential alternative in combating antibiotic-resisant bacterial infections," says Mr Kifelew, who works in infectious disease management at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and has ties to St Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"The phages effectively decreased the bacterial load and significantly improved wound healing in in multi-drug resistant S aureus infection - similar or superior to the currently prescribed antibiotic treatment," he says.

With diabetes on the rise, the global burden of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) is also affecting up to 26.1 million people each year, with these ulcers the cause of almost 90% of limb amputations. The five-year mortality rate following foot amputation due to DFUs has been estimated at up to 74%.

Based on 2015 prevalence data from the International Diabetes Federation, it is estimated that foot ulcers develop in 9.1 million to 26.1 million people with diabetes annually worldwide.

In the US, the annual cost of managing DFU infections is estimated at an additional US$9-13 billion over the cost of diabetes itself. In England, it is estimated that the annual cost of managing DFUs exceeds the total cost of breast, prostate and lung cancers combined.
The paper, 'Efficacy of phage cocktail AB-SA01 therapy in diabetic mouse wound infections caused by multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus' (2020) by LG Kifelew, MS Warner, S Morales, L Vaughan, R Woodman, R Fitridge, JG Mitchell and P Speck has been published in BMC Microbiology (Springer Nature).

Flinders University

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.