Scientists Modify Viruses With CRISPR To Create New Weapon Against Superbugs

NPR.org | 5/22/2019 | Staff
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About two years ago, Alphonso Evans went to the hospital for what he thought was just another bladder infection and ended up in intensive care. In an effort to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs, scientists have created "living antibiotics" made of viruses that have been genetically modified using the gene-editing tool CRISPR.

Alphonso Evans rolls his wheelchair into a weight machine in the gym at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga.

Heart - Attack - Diabetes - Exercise - Evans

"I'm not so much worried about dying from a heart attack or diabetes, because I'm active. I know what to do to work against it: watch what I eat, exercise," Evans says. "But what do I do about an infection? Or fighting off a bacteria — something inside me that I don't see until it's too late?"

Evans, 67, is fully paralyzed from the chest down and has only partial use of his hands. And like a lot of spinal cord injury patients, he's prone to infections, especially bladder infections.

Years - VA - Center - Bladder - Infection

About two years ago, he came to the VA medical center for what he thought was just another bladder infection. Turns out, he also had a bone infection and developed pneumonia. He ended up in intensive care. "It scared me," says Evans, who lives nearby in Hephzibah, Ga. "And I don't scare easy."

Bladder infections, like many others, are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Point - Organisms - Michael - Priebe - Doctor

"We are getting to the point where there are organisms that are resistant to every known antibiotic," says Michael Priebe, a doctor who heads the spinal cord injury service at the VA medical center.

"My fear is that as we are in this arms race, there gets to the point where we are not able to keep up with the enemy — the resistant bacteria. The superbugs take over, and we have nothing to defend against it," Priebe says.

Priebe

So Priebe enlisted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: NPR.org
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