Ebola, Good Germs, and More Tales of the Invisible

This morning I stopped by WHYY in Philadelphia to talk about Ebola and other news from the microscopic realm on “Radio Times.” Here’s the hour-long conversation I had with Marty Moss-Coane.

One thought on “Ebola, Good Germs, and More Tales of the Invisible

  1. Speaking of good germs, did you catch this new paper? This is really cool. Target the virulence genes of bacteria directly (with modified phages), and you only kill the pathogens, sparing the bystanders/beneficials.

    And more, this technique can be used inhibit the spread of antibiotic resistance (though I suppose that may be moot if this method lives up to its full potential).

    “Here, we develop programmable, sequence-specific antimicrobials using the RNA-guided nuclease Cas9 delivered by a bacteriophage. We show that Cas9, reprogrammed to target virulence genes, kills virulent, but not avirulent, Staphylococcus aureus. Reprogramming the nuclease to target antibiotic resistance genes destroys staphylococcal plasmids that harbor antibiotic resistance genes and immunizes avirulent staphylococci to prevent the spread of plasmid-borne resistance genes. We also show that CRISPR-Cas9 antimicrobials function in vivo to kill S. aureus in a mouse skin colonization model. This technology creates opportunities to manipulate complex bacterial populations in a sequence-specific manner.”


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