Nothing Worked, So This Woman Turned To A Natural Enemy Of Bacteria To Save Her Husband's Life
December 11, 2023
In a medical saga that can only be described as miraculous, epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee defied the odds to save her husband from a deadly superbug infection when all conventional treatments failed.
The extraordinary journey involved a race against time, unconventional science, and the collaborative efforts of researchers across the country.
Steffanie Strathdee / Credit: MicrobeTV
Strathdee's husband faced a dire situation, with doctors declaring it too late to save him as antibiotic after antibiotic proved ineffective against the relentless superbug. Undeterred, Strathdee embarked on a quest for an alternative solution, leading her to the relatively obscure realm of phage therapy – a method using viruses called phages, naturally designed to consume bacteria.
The next phase of her journey was both daring and groundbreaking. Strathdee rallied phage scientists from various corners of the country, urging them to scour diverse environments like sewage, bogs, ponds, and even the bilge of boats in search of the elusive phages capable of combating the specific strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria devastating her husband's health.
With the painstaking selection process underway, the next hurdle was obtaining approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the unproven phage cocktail. Strathdee navigated the regulatory landscape, advocating for the green light that would allow this last-resort treatment to be administered to her husband.
Meanwhile, scientists worked tirelessly to purify the mixture, ensuring it was both effective and safe for human use. Every step of the way, the team faced the challenge of a rapidly ticking clock.
In a stunning turn of events, just three weeks after the search for phages began, Strathdee stood witness to a groundbreaking moment. Doctors injected the purified phage cocktail intravenously into her husband's body, and against all odds, it worked. The phages successfully targeted and eradicated the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that had been devouring his health.
The triumph of phage therapy in this case not only saved a life but also opened new possibilities for combating drug-resistant infections.
"It's estimated that by 2050, 10 million people per year — that's one person every three seconds — is going to be dying from a superbug infection," Strathdee told an audience at Life Itself, a 2022 health and wellness event.
"I'm here to tell you that the enemy of my enemy can be my friend. Viruses can be medicine."
Listen to Strathdee's incredible story in the video/podcast below.
Get Strathdee's book here: The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug
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