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Researchers have discovered a virus that destroys acne-causing bacteria without side effects.

Would you smear a virus all over your face? What if it was harmless and cured acne?

HealthDay reports on a study published in an American Society for Microbiology journal:

California researchers report in the Sept. 25 online edition of the journal mBio that they have taken a step in that direction, with the discovery that a harmless virus that lives on your skin seeks out and destroys the bacteria that can cause acne.

Harnessing this virus, or even just a part of it, might one day lead to a treatment that will replace current treatments, many of which have potentially serious side effects.

The study is called “Propionibacterium acnes Bacteriophages Display Limited Genetic Diversity and Broad Killing Activity against Bacterial Skin Isolates,” and it’s freely available. But behind that boring, complicated title is a simple and exciting possibility: a low-risk acne treatment.

Current acne treatments can have side effects ranging from diarrhea to breathing difficulty and birth defects. And according to a researcher quoted by HealthDay, further research might be able to narrow the solution down to a specific protein, eliminating the need for a viral cure.

Stacy Johnson

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