A virus a day keeps the pimples away

Scientists have isolated and studied the genomes of 11 viruses, known as phage, that can infect and kill the acne-causing bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, potentially paving the way for topical therapies that use viruses or viral products to treat this vexing skin condition. Their results are reported in the September 25 issue of mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

“There are two fairly obvious potential directions that could exploit this kind of research,” says Graham Hatfull of the University of Pittsburgh, an author of the study. “The first is the possibility of using the phages directly as a therapy for acne. The second is the opportunity to use phage-derived components for their activities.”

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