The Pentagon wants to study how certain kinds of bacteria might be used to "prey" on potential biological-weapon agents, Global Biodefense reports.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency could fund studies that examine whether "predatory" bacteria may inflict additional harm on organisms infected by an agent such as plague, tularemia, brucellosis or Q fever, according to a Defense Department solicitation quoted in a Monday article.
Any proposed research must also consider what infectious agents are susceptible to bacterial predators, and whether targeted agents can develop countermeasures to exposure, according to a broad agency announcement issued on Thursday.
"This approach would represent a significant departure from conventional antibacterial therapies that rely on small molecule antibiotics," the solicitation states.
"While antibiotics have been remarkably effective in the past, their widespread use has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections that are difficult or impossible to treat," according to the document.
Previous research, though, has demonstrated "that predators such as Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus can prey upon more than one hundred different human pathogens and will also prey on multi-drug resistant bacteria," the notice states.