Genetically modified virus saves teen’s life


A British teenager’s life has been saved thanks to a genetically-modified virus.

17-year-old Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway has cystic fibrosis and has also been fighting a recurring infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria since she was eight.

Isabelle underwent a lung transplant in 2017 that was “uncomplicated” but had to stop using an antibiotic that caused severe side effects and her bacterial infection came back.

By 2018, she ended up in intensive care with acute liver failure.

Desperation led her family and medical care team to look to something called ‘phage therapy.’

Bacteriophages or “phages” are viruses that can infect and destroy bacteria.

Doctors created a phage cocktail for Isabelle, including one phage that was genetically-modified to kill the target bacterium more effectively.

The treatment hasn’t completely eradicated her bacterial load, but it’s made a huge difference.

Isabelle has recovered enough to return to school and even has a weekend job.

Isabelle’s case study was published Wednesday in the Journal “Nature Medicine.”

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