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ScienceShot: A Pulmonary War Between Viruses and Bacteria

VANCOUVER, CANADA—There's a war going on in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. Near the top of the organs, bacteria form thick layers called biofilms, which keep viruses from killing them. That's bad news for cystic fibrosis patients, as these bacteria cause infection. Lower down, however, viruses win out. Here, there aren't as many bacteria in thick biofilms, and viruses swarm the microbes (as seen in this image from an electron microscope), picking them off one by one. By keeping an eye on these battles, described here yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW), researchers may be able to track the severity of the disease and possibly even develop new treatments.

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