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He was dying of drug-resistant bacteria. Viruses saved him

Thomas Patterson felt very bad during his vacation in Egypt. When he was hospitalized, it turned out that he had an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that is very life-threatening. A race against time began, because the patient’s condition was getting worse and the doctors, despite many attempts, were unable to help him. How did the man survive? He told about it on Dzień Dobry TVN in an interview with Marcin Sawicki.

Viruses that heal

Marcin Sawicki interviewed Thomas Patterson and his wife Steffanie Strathdee. In an interview with the journalist Dzień Dobry TVN, the American talked about the dramatic fight for life. It all started with a vacation in Egypt.

– We were on a ship that traveled the Nile River. At night, however, I felt very bad. Vomiting started and continued. The called doctor said it was just food poisoning, that you had to take antibiotics and plenty of fluids, and it would be over by morning. But it didn’t happen at all, recalled Thomas Patterson.

Health worsened, so it was necessary to intervene. The married couple had health insurance, thanks to which they were taken to a hospital in Germany.

– Doctors diagnosed the bacteria that caused the abscess in the abdomen. After the bacteria were diagnosed, everyone had to wear special protective suits. Gloves, masks, coveralls. They were very scared because this bacterium is called acinetobacter baumannii Steffanie Strathdee, Thomas’ wife, said.

This bacterium is known to be ineffective by antibiotics.

– I was shocked and so were the doctors, because we didn’t really think that this bacterium would be so terrible. They told me that after two weeks it was too late for surgery, Steffanie said. – They also said that there is nothing they can do and the husband is closer to death every day. They made holes in his abdomen to suck out the fluid, but the abscess grew larger and larger. My husband lost 45 kg, he was left with a skeleton after 4 months in the hospital – she added.

Thomas’s wife felt helpless. She sat down next to her husband, who was in a coma, and asked him to squeeze her hand if he wanted to live.

I waited a moment and he suddenly squeezed. It was amazing. And I did what people do in this situation. I went home and started looking for help myself. Since I am a scientist by profession, I could find scientific literature. It turned out that in Poland and Georgia there are studies that suggest the use of viruses and phages against bacteria. We were afraid. First, a special virus had to be found, Steffanie reported.

It was a race against time as Thomas was getting weaker and weaker.

– When we got this cocktail, I was told that her husband was only hours away from death. We administered the viruses on Monday morning and on Saturday my husband regained consciousness. A few days and raised his head from the pillow, kissed his daughter’s hand. It was a shock to everyone. The head of the emergency department said she had never seen someone in such a serious condition recover completely. At that time, we didn’t know if it would kill him or heal him. The United States and most of the so-called Westerners forgot about this method of treatment. Phages were discovered in 1917. Poland and Georgia have been using this method for decades. You have experience. Meanwhile, the picky West put everything on antibiotics and they forgot about the phages. Now the antibiotics are running out because we use them too often. The phages have their time now. Our history has helped a lot, emphasized Strathdee.

Innovative treatments

Marcin Sawicki in Dzień Dobry TVN talked about the specificity of acinetobacter baumannii bacteria.

– The bacterium several dozen years ago was not so dangerous yet. The students who dealt with the bacteria, and multiplied them in the laboratories, worked with minimal security. After several decades, they became extremely dangerous. It is all related to the fact that humanity uses too much antibiotics. When we take them all the time, for no good reason, we make it bacteria learn to fight antibiotics. At the moment, this bacterium is very often antibiotic resistant to all known antibiotics, the journalist explained.

There is a research center in Poland that studies the possibility of using phages in the treatment of various diseases. It is the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław. People from various countries in Europe and the world come for help there. From a scientific point of view, phage therapy is experimental. A very important last step is missing – clinical trials. In mid-September, a decision was made to conduct such research in Poland. They will cost PLN 15.5 million and will last as long as 6 years.

– One day we would like such drugs with phages to be tested and we are just one step away from the last, most important stage, i.e. research. We don’t know what it will be like, but The very idea that there are viruses that can fight off the most dangerous bacteria is great news – noted Marcin Sawicki.

Haven’t you watched Dzień Dobry TVN on air? Full episodes can be found on the Player.pl platform.

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Source From: Dziendobry

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