Jul 5, 2017

Scientists look to viruses to fight bacteria

Nati Harni / AP

Scientists are re-exploring "phage therapy," the use of viruses to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to The Washington Post.

Why it matters: Antibiotic resistant bacteria pose one of the biggest threats to human health, according to the World Health Organization. Bacteriophage therapy could be another option as resistance to existing antibiotics grows because of the large number of phages on Earth (in excess of 10 million trillion trillion), each likely to target a different species of bacteria.

How it works: Bacteriophages kill specific bacteria by entering the cells and causing them to burst. To figure out which bacteria are being targeted, researchers take a sample from a patient, grow them with phages and see which cells they kill. They then grow that phage in large batches, purify it and administer it to the patient. The process takes five to 10 days, however scientists believe they will be able to shorten that time frame. The approach hasn't been approved for general use in people but WaPo says most scientists believe they are safe, in part because we are exposed to them daily, and the therapy has been used in a handful of emergency situations.

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History's largest lockdown leaves Indian workers stranded, afraid

A migrant worker on the move with his child, in Gurugram, India. Photo: Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty

Few moments better capture the world into which we've slipped than the decision of one man to order 1.4 billion into lockdown.

Why it matters: India’s three-week lockdown is the largest ever attempted, and it sparked South Asia's greatest migration since partition in 1947. While the economic effects could be devastating, the public health crisis it's intended to fend off could be more destructive still.

Go deeperArrow15 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 782,319 — Total deaths: 37,582 — Total recoveries: 164,565.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 161,807 — Total deaths: 2,953 — Total recoveries: 5,595.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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First U.S. service member dies from coronavirus

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

The Pentagon on Monday announced the death of a member of the New Jersey National Guard who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. service member — active, reserve or Guard — to die from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The guardsman passed away on Saturday after being hospitalized for the novel coronavirus on March 21.

Go deeperArrow58 mins ago - Health