February 26, 2019 12:23 pm

Super Awesome Science Show recap: ‘phaging’ out the resistance

This undated file illustration made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta depicts Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, one of the germs that can evolve to resist antibiotics.

CDC via AP
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The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a human health crisis — but few people appreciate the impact of this phenomenon on their lives.

On this week’s Super Awesome Science Show, we’re going to take a very personal look at what happens when someone gets a resistant infection and how a treatment from a century ago is making a comeback not just for our health but also our food supply.

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Our first guest is Tom Patterson. He’s a researcher at the University of California San Diego and the subject of the new book, The Perfect Predator. In 2015, he went through a nine-month ordeal in which he almost died. His infection was resistant against all antibiotics. The only reason he survived was due to the use of a method used almost a century ago: viruses of bacteria, known as bacteriophages, better known as phages.

READ MORE: What to do when antibiotics fail? One possible treatment comes from century ago

Our next guest, Steffanie Strathdee at the University of California, San Diego, takes us through the process of using viruses to defeat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. She is the author of The Perfect Predator, which is an account of her journey to save Tom from the infection. While her role as an epidemiologist may have spurred her on, her efforts had a very personal twist. Tom is her husband.

In our SASS Class, we examine how these viruses can be used to improve food safety. Raw and uncooked meat carries risk of bacterial infection. Our guest teacher, Lawrence Goodridge from the University of Guelph, has been working to find ways to incorporate viruses into the food production pipeline so that we can be safe.

READ MORE: New rapid testing kit could prevent future widespread E. coli alerts: Western University researchers

If you enjoy The Super Awesome Science Show, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts and be sure to tell a friend about the show. Thanks to you, we’ve won a Canadian Podcast Award as Outstanding Science and Medicine Series. Thank you all very much!

Contact:

Twitter: @JATetro
Email: thegermguy@gmail.com

Guests:
Dr. Tom Patterson
https://profiles.ucsd.edu/thomas.patterson

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee
https://profiles.ucsd.edu/steffanie.strathdee
Twitter: @chngin_the_wrld

Dr. Lawrence Goodridge
https://news.uoguelph.ca/2019/01/improving-food-safety-goal-of-1-million-gift/
Twitter: @SafeFoodCanuck

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