Research update: Virus shown to be effective in preventing infection following root canal procedures

Feb. 24, 2015
Scientists have isolated a bacteriophage that has shown to be effective in preventing serious infections, including that which follows root canal procedures. Despite its unseemly origination, this phage shows great promise for a variety of far-reaching infections, including those with a history of antibiotic resistance.

Viruses are being used as hired killers for a new purpose, according to an article from Medical News Today.

Bacteriophages, also called phages, are viruses that infect bacteria. Over time, these phages have evolved into highly developed killers. At one time phages were used largely in creating antibiotics. Now, researchers have isolated a phage called EFDG1, but what makes this most interesting is that they isolated it from sewage in Jerusalem.

Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Dental Medicine reported their findings in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The study shows that EFDG1 could be an effective way to destroy a drug-resistant bacterium, known as Enterococcus faecalis, in the human gastrointestinal tract that sometimes causes infections following dental procedures. E. faecalis causes endocarditis, bacteremia, urinary tract infections, meningitis, and other serious infections, one of which is the infection that occurs after root canals.

Read the study abstract here.

Khalifa L, et al. Targeting Enterococcus faecalis biofilm using phage therapy. AEM[published online]. February 6 2015. doi:10.1128/AEM.00096-15

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