Science or Sci-fi? Swallowing viruses to kill pathogenic bacteria
Phage image by Russell Kightley
As I lay on my bed this morning perusing the pages of the organic co-op where I order lots of organic foods and other natural items monthly, I ran across a product called FloraPhage. It was listed as a "probiotic multiplier," making probiotics you may be taking more powerful, but it's truly a "phage" - a virus that infects a particular strain of bacteria and destroys it. Sound like sci-fi to you? Me too! But I'm 95.3% sure I'm going to swallow the red pill and go down the rabbit hole. (As I typed that, I looked over at my rabbit. He doesn't seem concerned. This gives me comfort). I'm not as brave as some people seem to think I am. I'm actually typically the LAST person who'll try ingesting something I'm not comfortable with (I was even nervous the first time I ate my own veggie ferments!). But, I feel that phage therapy may be a good alternative to antibiotics, which we now know can devastate the gut microbiome, wiping out important bacteria like Oxalobacter formigenes which breaks down oxalate (losing these bacteria can put us at risk for kidney stones and other issues throughout the body as oxalates build up to harmful levels).
FloraPhage targets a type of E. coli. While not all species of this bacterium are "bad," certain E. coli are often the culprit in urinary tract infections. Perhaps in the future, a wider variety of phages will be readily available to treat a broader spectrum of bacterial infections.