Ever wonder what lurks in the depths of the oceans? Scientists are always making new discoveries. The latest one was a bit surprising, though. Because they found a virus that kills bacteria in the ocean.
Viruses that kill bacteria are nothing new. This is because viruses are the natural enemy of any bacterium. And, scientists have documented many different types of bacteria that do this.
In fact, virus-killing bacteria is a new avenue of research to treat various diseases. One avenue of research showed positive results in animal models who were administered a cocktail of these types of viruses. The viruses prevented cholera infection and symptoms of cholera in the lab animals.
In addition, scientists are investigating different ways to engineer these specific types of viruses. Called bacteriophages, these viruses already kill bacteria. So, researchers are trying to use nature to our benefit.
Furthermore, the FDA has already approved of some bacteriophages to be used in food products. Such engineered phages can concentrate on specific targets. It is unlike the antibiotic method of trying to treat whatever it can reach. But, efforts to use the same method for medicinal purposes has run into problems.
So, what’s so special about this new bacteria-killing virus in the ocean? This virus plays an integral role in keeping bacteria population under control. Additionally, and of even more significance, is that this new virus infects dozens of different bacteria. Not just one or two that previous virus studies have found.
Now, scientists know what to look for, they can begin to piece together the evolution of the virus.
It’s too soon to guess at the implications of finding a virus that kills bacteria in the ocean. But, scientists are already using bacteriophages to combat bacterial infections. Only time will tell how they will utilize a virus that can kill many types of bacteria.