We have bacteria that can gobble up oil spills (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), and now we may have a virus that can attack pimples. Doctors have discovered a harmless virus living on our skin that naturally seeks out and kills the bacteria that cause pimples.
Dermatologist Robert Modlin says, "Acne affects millions of people, yet we have few treatments that are both safe and effective. Harnessing a virus that naturally preys on the bacteria that causes pimples could offer a promising new tool against the physical and emotional scars of severe acne."
Acne affects nearly 90% of Americans at some point in their lives, yet scientists know little about what causes the disorder and have made little progress in developing new strategies for treating it.
Dermatologist Jenny Kim says, "Antibiotics such as tetracycline are so widely used that many acne strains have developed resistance, and drugs like Accutane, while effective, can produce risky side effects, limiting their use." Scientists looked at two little microbes that share a big name: Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium thriving in our pores that can trigger acne, and P. acnes phages, a family of viruses that live on human skin that can fight it off. When P. acnes bacteria aggravate the immune system, it causes the swollen, red bumps associated with acne. The viruses doctors want to use to attack this bacteria are harmless to humans, but programmed to infect and kill the P. acnes bacteria.
Researcher Laura Marinelli says, "We know that sex hormones, facial oil and the immune system play a role in causing acne–however, a lot of research implicates P. acnes as an important trigger." Using over-the-counter pore cleansing strips from the drugstore, the researchers lifted acne bacteria and the P. acnes viruses from the noses of both pimply and clear-skinned volunteers. When they sequenced the virus genomes, they discovered that they possess features that make them ideal candidates for the development of a new anti-acne therapy.
Do the lucky people who don’t get acne have more of the "good" virus than the rest of us? If so, now the rest of us can have clear skin too. Clear skin, great hair, a gorgeous figure–WHOOPS! Many of us are fatter than we want to be. Anne Strieber is here to help you reduce, and in order to help even more, she’s reduced the price of her famous diet book from $5 to $3!