Back in the middle of the 20th century, antibiotics,intended to destroy bacteria, were considered substances that can cure people from virtually any disease. However, scientists were wrong - over time, these miraculous substances became less effective, because many types of bacteria have developed immunity against them. Today, scientists suspect that the best alternative to antibiotics may be the so-called bacteriophages - viruses that destroy only certain types of bacteria without harming others. Recently, a gel was created from them that can be applied to any wound and be sure that all bacteria will be destroyed.
By their method of action, antibiotics are similar tonuclear bombs that destroy everything that gets in their way. Bacteriophages, on the other hand, are more like snipers, who destroy only those targets they are pointed out to. Due to their tiny size, they easily penetrate into the bacteria and actively proliferate until the body of a dying bacterium is torn apart. In the human body, bacteriophages are hugely contained in the nose, helping to cleanse the air of dangerous microbes. Anyway, there are a lot of them in nature - in one gram of soil more bacteriophages live than people on the planet.
For the first time about the existence of viruses capabledestroy bacteria, scientists began to guess in the early 1890s. It was then that the British bacteriologist Ernest Hankin began to study the principle of the spread of cholera - an intestinal infection that causes severe dehydration and death. For some reason, bacteria did not take root near the banks of the Indian river Ganges, and in fact, according to local residents, sacred water was thrown into the bodies of dead people. Even now, the river is a paradise for deadly diseases.
The Ganges River is one of the dirtiest on Earth
The scientist solved the mystery of the river only at the beginning of XXcentury. It turned out that a huge number of bacteriophage viruses developed at its shores, which cleaned the water contaminated with cholera before people had time to swim in it. For a long time, scientists have not even tried to use them for medical purposes, but in recent years they are confident that these viruses can save humanity.
Be sure to read: Bacteriophages: viruses that can save humanity
Recently, scientists from Canada decided to createthese viruses have a gel that effectively destroys even large concentrations of bacteria. To do this, they have grown in the laboratory a huge number of bacteriophages, gathered them together and connected together with an adhesive component. In the end, they turned out jelly-like substance, each millimeter of which contains 300 trillion bacteriophages.
There are more viruses in this gel drop than people on Earth.
If desired, scientists can change the molecularthe structure of bacteriophages, so that they begin to attack bacteria that antibiotics cannot cope with at the moment. Also, scientists believe that bacteriophages can destroy cancer cells and even particles of plastic debris. So far, scientists have not shown the effectiveness of their gel in practice, but it is hoped that in the future, cancerous tumors and plastic waste contaminating nature can be destroyed by simply applying this gel on them.
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