Virus Could Be New Weapon Against Zits

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Endolysins have been shown to be safe and to work well in other types of infections, said Vince Fischetti, professor and head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at Rockefeller University in New York City, who was not involved with the study.

The pressure inside a bacterial cell is 10 to 20 times higher than atmospheric pressure, he said. Upon contact, endolysins drill holes in the cell wall that cause a bacterium to explode like a balloon. And Fischetti has the dramatic videos to prove it.

The effect of endolysins occurs in matter of minutes, he said, adding that antibiotics take hours to work since they have to enter the bacterial cell and interfere with its metabolism for the cell to die.

Future therapies for drug-resistant acne could include creams that contained these bacteria-melting endolysins, he said.

However, much more research and testing needs to be done before patients can expect a new zit-busting cream, study author Hatfull said.

While we wait for new and better treatments for zits, what should acne suffers do for relief in the meantime?

"One thing that people have to understand is that rubbing alcohol on your skin does not have any effect on P. acnes," Day said, "So don't do that."

Day also advised not to pick at lesions because the immune response to the injured skin could make it worse and make pimples more likely to scar and last longer.

Dr. Gary Goldenberg, assistant professor of dermatology and pathology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who was not involved with the study, gave the following advice, "If you have acne, get examined by a dermatologist to determine what kind of acne you have and what kind of treatment is right for you."

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