Retool yourself


A group of researchers have found a "cocktail of viruses" that can be used to treat Food Poisoning. The Cocktail is used to destroy targeted E. Coli strains without harming the helpful Gut microbes. The new innovation would be really helpful in controlling Food Poisoning and reducing death rate.

The imitation of microbiome at intestines made in the form of a Virus cocktail showed positive results for treating food poisoning. A group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Baltimore-based pharmaceutical company, Intralytix recently published their research into managing bacterial infections. The important note is targeted destroying of E. Coli strains without causing any harm to the helpful Gut microbes.

Facts and Figures about Food poisoning:

According to World Health Organization (WHO), almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food. Additionally, 4,20,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs). These facts and figures are quite shocking and difficult to accept. In near future the same food poisoning can threaten a nation’s well being both in terms of economic and social sense.


What is Food poisoning?

Food poisoning is a common food borne illness caused due to the intake of foods contaminated with infectious organisms like bacteria, viruses and parasites or their toxic strains. The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Mostly food poisoning resolves with minimal or no treatment. In general, it is considered as self-diagnosable illness which requires adequate hydration requirements.


Modern problems require modern solution:

Once human body acts resistant to antibiotics that is the end of English medicine. This is quite a tricky problem in the field of drugs. Giving antibiotics for all this minor illness only weakens one’s healthy immune system. Thanks to modern scope of research and development. It has given a new light to overcome this serious health issue.


Bacteria hunting viruses called phage or Bacteriophages are the heart of this virus-based cocktail. These lytic phage’s usually stick on the surfaces of the bacterium to inject their viral genetic material into the bacterium. This results in virus taking over the metabolic activities of the bacterium. The forced metabolic activities push the bacteria to recreate the new viral population. The ultimate explosion of the bacterial cell results in a fresh army of phage to fight all the un-attacked population of new bacterium.

This research study focussed mainly on certain parameters by examining

  • the impact on a specific, pre-chosen targeted E. coli strain
  •  the impact on a selected non-targeted bacterial population,

which was chosen to represent a defined microbial consortium typical of a healthy small intestine.

Upon examining the stability of this cocktail at various pH conditions and bile concentrations showed that it is most stable at duodenum.

Past Antibiotics vs Future virus cocktail:

Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin offer an efficient means for managing diseases caused by bacterial pathogens. Antibiotics kill or inhibit the growth of pathogens. For treating a small illness which is mostly caused by specific strains of bacteria with a broad-spectrum antibiotic is like killing both the bad doers and good doers at the same time. Eliminating pathogens along with commensal or mutualistic micro-organisms might weaken one’s body for fighting against harmful microbes.


any bacteria’s in the human body have already started to act resistant to the traditional dose of antibiotics. The pre-antibiotic era had lots of problems during surgeries and post surgeries because of the possibility for infection by bacteria. Modern medical field is running smoothly as antibiotics is taking care of this issue. This creates a real and urgent therapeutic need to develop replacement for antimicrobial approaches. They will kill specific problem-causing bacteria without beneficial gut microbiota. This shows the significance of this project in the field of research and development.

The concept of using bacteriophages to fight against food borne illness is been in practice in the regions of Eastern Europe in past years. This practice gives a new insight on how to kill a specific strain without creating any collateral damage to the commensal organisms present in our gut.



The development of the TSI small intestinal model received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/under REA grant agreement n° 606713. Baltimore-based Intralytix Inc. was the first company to receive FDA approval to use bacteriophages in food safety applications.

The remedy for food borne illness is going to be a cocktail and not a few pills or injections. The practice of having virus cocktail for treatment is not so far in future to achieve. This surely is going to create a revolution once it is accepted into our tradition.

It’s time to raise a toast for Virus Cocktail!

Read: The Mediterranean Diet 101

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