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Medical News and Perspectives
December 24/31, 2003

Set a Microbe to Kill a Microbe

JAMA. 2003;290(24):3183-3185. doi:10.1001/jama.290.24.3183

As Gary Schoolnik, MD, was growing up during the late 1940s in Seattle, he had his first memorable encounter with a virus.

"My mother had typhoid fever and was sick in the hospital for about a month," said Schoolnik, of Stanford University Medical School in Stanford, Calif. Antibiotics such as chloramphenicol were not available at the time, but his surgeon father recalled reading an interesting study in the Journal of Bacteriology. A group of physicians in the Los Angeles area were using bacteriophage (abbreviated as phage), a virus that infects bacteria, to treat typhoid.

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