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Xavier Duportet explains what his company does © 2015 Eligo Bioscience
WHO estimates that by 2050 the #1 reason people die, will be because of bacterial infections that became resistant to antibiotics and thus can't be treated. We can either find new antibiotics (unlikely), develop completely new forms of medication or we remove the gene that makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. That's what Eligo Bioscience is building in Paris, based on MIT technology. With € 2 million funding from Seventure they developed a working prototype virus, that "infects" resistant bacteria and disables their gene that causes them to be resistant.

Current state of antibiotics 

Within the human body there are ten times more bacterial cells than human ones. Most of those bacteria help us stay healthy or digest our food, however everyone had already a couple of bacterial infections, usually treated with antibiotics. One of the problems with current antibiotics is "they hit not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria," explained Professor Timothy Lu of the Synthetic Biology Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who led the team carrying out the new research. In recent times, scientists and politicians warned more and more often that we face a return to the medical "dark ages" if action is not taken against antibiotic resistance. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect more than 2 million people in the US alone, and kill at least 23,000. Despite the urgent need for new treatments, scientists have discovered very few new classes of antibiotics in the past decade. 

How CRISPR is used in this technology

Genome Editing with CRISPR-Cas9 © 2014 McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Since the latest breakthrough technology in Biotech, CRISPR & Cas9, is not only able to insert any sort of DNA into living cells but can also disable genes, it can be used to specifically target those mutated, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and stop the genes from working. Eligo Bioscience inject a bacteria-specific DNA into viruses with CRIPSR. Those viruses then only affect antibiotic resistant bacteria and disable them. 

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About the author

View full profile Jérôme Lutz from Berlin & Munich, Germany

I like to share the great things I discover daily while researching and working in the field of Synthetic Biology.

When I talk to people about it, they often refer to Science Fiction. However, when I send them links to this wiki and they read through those pages, they start understanding that this is real and it's happening right now.