[Music] A war has been raging for billions of years, killing trillions every single day, while we don’t even notice. The war is fought by the single deadliest entity on our planet: the bacteriophage or ‘phage’ for short. [Intro + Music] A phage is a virus; not quite alive, not quite dead. Also, they look as if someone made them up. Their head is an icosahedron, a sort of dice with 20 faces and 30 edges. It contains the genetic material of the virus and often sits on a long tail that has leg-like fibers. There are more phages on earth than every other organism combined, including bacteria. And they are probably everywhere living things exist. Billions are on your hands, in your intestines and your eyelids right now. Which might make you nervous since phages are responsible for the majority of deaths on earth but you’re lucky. While they do commit genocide for breakfast, they only kill bacteria. Up to 40% of all bacteria in the oceans are killed by them every single day. But phages also have major flaws. Like any other virus, phages need a host to survive and reproduce. They’re not much more than genetic material in a hull and they specialize. Usually, a phage has chosen one specific bacteria and maybe some of its very close relatives. These are its prey. Imagine a phage as like a cruise missile that only hunts and kills members of one very unlucky family. When a phage finds its victim, it connects its tail fibers with receptors and uses a sort of syringe to puncture a surface. In a weird motion, the phage squeezes its tail and injects its genetic information. Within minutes, the bacteria is taken over. It’s now forced to manufacture all the parts of new phages. They only stop when the bacteria is filled up with brand-new phages. In the final step, they produce ‘endolysin’, a powerful enzyme that punches a hole in the bacteria. The pressure is so high that the bacteria sort of vomits out all of its insides and dies. New phages are released and begin the cycle anew. In the last few years, bacteriophages have enjoyed the attention of the second deadliest beings on earth: humans. Recently, we’ve started looking into injecting millions of them into our bodies because we’re sort of getting desperate; we screwed up. In the past a single cut or a sip from the wrong puddle could kill you. Bacteria were our phages. Tiny monsters that hunted us mercilessly. But then, about 100 years ago, we found a solution in nature. By accident, we found fungi that produced compounds that killed bacteria: antibiotics. Suddenly, we had a powerful super weapon. Antibiotics were so effective that we stopped thinking of bacteria as monsters. Only the old and the weakest among us were killed by them. We used antibiotics more and more for less and less serious causes. We lost respect for the monsters and the weapon But bacteria are living things that evolve and one by one they started to become immune against our weapons. This continued until we had created what are called ‘superbugs’, bacteria immune to almost everything we have. This immunity is spreading across the world as we speak. By 2050, superbugs could kill more humans a year than cancer. The days when a cut or bladder infection or a cough could kill you or your loved ones are coming back. In the US alone, more than 23,000 people die from resistant bacteria each year. But it turns out that phages, our tiny killer virus robots, could save us. We can inject them into our bodies to help cure infections. Hold on, how could injecting millions of viruses into an infection be a good idea? Phages are very very specialized killers of bacteria. So specialized, in fact, that humans are completely immune to them; we are too different. We encounter billions of phages every day and we just politely ignore each other. Antibiotics are like carpet bombing, killing everything even the good bacteria in our intestines that we don’t want to harm Phages are like guided missiles that only attack what they’re supposed to Wait a minute, if we use phages to kill bacteria, won’t bacteria develop ways of defending themselves? Well, it’s more complex than that; phages evolved too. There has been an arms race between them and bacteria for billions of years and so far, they’re doing great. This makes phages smart weapons that are constantly getting better at killing. But even if bacteria were to become immune against our phage, we still might be able to win. It turns out that in order to become resistant to even just a few species of phages, bacteria have to give up their resistance to antibiotics. We might be able to trap them in a catch-22. This has already been successfully tested with a patient who had no other hope left The bacteria ‘Pseudomonas Aeruginosa’, one of the most feared bacteria, infected the man’s chest cavity. They are naturally resistant to most antibiotics and can even survive an alcoholic hand gel. After years of suffering, a few thousand phages were directly inserted into his chest cavity together with antibiotics the bacteria were immune to. After a few weeks, the infections had completely disappeared. Unfortunately, this treatment is still experimental and pharma companies are still reluctant to invest the necessary billions in a treatment that has no official approval yet. But things are finally changing. In 2016, the largest phage clinical trial to date began and phages are getting more and more attention. and we better get used to it because the era in which antibiotics have been our super weapon is drawing to a close. It might be a weird concept but injecting the deadliest being on planet Earth directly into our bodies could save millions of lives This video was made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation If you’d like to support Kurzgesagt, you can do so on patreon.com/Kurzgesagt and get fancy things in return.

The Deadliest Being on Planet Earth – The Bacteriophage
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100 thoughts on “The Deadliest Being on Planet Earth – The Bacteriophage

  • February 8, 2019 at 1:53 pm
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    There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

    Reply
  • August 22, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    Big Pharma says no because they like money.

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  • August 22, 2019 at 8:18 pm
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    Of course Big Pharma isn't going to pick up something that is actively going to treat and/or cure most medical issues. They thrive off of us being sick. If we make something that cures us, they lose money and may eventually go bankrupt.

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  • August 22, 2019 at 8:36 pm
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    So phages and bacteria are playing a awesome Strategic war game and we got no part in seeing?

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  • August 22, 2019 at 10:31 pm
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    Of where the HELL have come ALL these deslikes?! What the FUCK Man…😂

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  • August 23, 2019 at 5:00 am
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    Who would win

    Millions of deadly bacteria or 1 tiny boy

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  • August 23, 2019 at 10:56 am
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    white blood cells: stfu ur hiring a virus to do our job

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  • August 23, 2019 at 11:05 am
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    Hold on, what about phages that are specialized to kill bacteria which are good for our body? Wouldn't they be dangerous?

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  • August 23, 2019 at 12:47 pm
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    Is the intro inspired by infinity war's intro

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  • August 23, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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    Anti vaxxers see's this video
    Anti vaxxers: stop spreading fake news!

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  • August 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm
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    LET THEM FIGHT!

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  • August 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm
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    Is a creeper

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  • August 23, 2019 at 4:28 pm
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    Evolved bacterias? What a threatening encounter. Guess we have to roll a dice and hope for the best.

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  • August 23, 2019 at 4:59 pm
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    phages can't effect or target humans, but viruses that effect humans can, and both are particularly good at horizontal gene transfer

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  • August 23, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    Bacteria:*is immune to antibiotics*

    Humans to phages:you're the last one complete the mission

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  • August 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm
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    Shouldn't we make a antibiotic with phages in it? It would be like a mega vaccination.

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  • August 23, 2019 at 8:48 pm
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    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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  • August 23, 2019 at 10:22 pm
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    My brain was a phage while watching this
    Im not too smart

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  • August 23, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    is weird that this has been financed by the foundation that plans to control the growth of the population …

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  • August 24, 2019 at 1:25 am
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    Superbug:immune to Ur puny weapons
    Phage:hold my beer

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  • August 24, 2019 at 2:28 am
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    Im about to end am i a joke to hold my beer has entered the chat

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  • August 24, 2019 at 6:48 am
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    The one that dis like are bacterias

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  • August 24, 2019 at 7:27 am
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    I hate playgendary

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  • August 24, 2019 at 8:38 am
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    Bacteria:
    Phage: so you have choosen DEATH

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  • August 24, 2019 at 10:22 am
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    The deadliest entity on earth is our friend? Nice!

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  • August 24, 2019 at 11:39 am
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    This isnt new. Bacteriophages have been researched and used in eastern Europe and Russia for decades.

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  • August 24, 2019 at 1:14 pm
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    Yoooo shout to phages

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  • August 24, 2019 at 1:17 pm
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    Il Vento d'oro plays

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  • August 24, 2019 at 2:17 pm
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    A new superhero has came.
    Is it small? Yes. very small.

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  • August 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm
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    Genocide Shmenocide.

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  • August 24, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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    Who else thought it looked like an injector from Steven universe?

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  • August 24, 2019 at 10:40 pm
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    "The enemy of our bad bacteria is our friend"

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  • August 24, 2019 at 10:42 pm
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    Bruh that’s the gem drill from Steven universe

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  • August 25, 2019 at 1:25 am
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    Very nice video

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  • August 25, 2019 at 1:26 am
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    5:12 what did i just hear

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  • August 25, 2019 at 3:13 am
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    Bacteria: goteem

    Humans: reverse card

    Bacteria: evolves and reverse reverse card goteem again. Sorry kid but you’re finishe—

    Humans: reverse reverse reverse card and phages

    Bacteria: N-NANI?

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  • August 25, 2019 at 3:40 am
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    So, viruses are d20s?

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  • August 25, 2019 at 4:18 am
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    Theres gonna be anti-phagers in 2070

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  • August 25, 2019 at 5:23 am
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    Inject me some icosahedron spiders.

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  • August 25, 2019 at 6:52 am
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    Well I never used antibiotics 🥳

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  • August 25, 2019 at 8:21 am
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    I think i should not watch this bcs im sick rk

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  • August 25, 2019 at 10:22 am
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    Huh, I'm allergic to penicillin.

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  • August 25, 2019 at 10:27 am
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    But what if phages evolved to fight our own human cells

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  • August 25, 2019 at 12:07 pm
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    I thought mosquitos were the most deadly they kill more than sharks

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  • August 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm
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    Omg I love your video what an inprovement

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  • August 25, 2019 at 3:18 pm
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    Steven universe injector

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  • August 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm
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    Lowkey helped me w/my homwork

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  • August 26, 2019 at 12:31 am
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    The deadliest bacteria is people
    Because if we not throwing a garbage on the sea or something on nature bacteria has a new species

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  • August 26, 2019 at 12:44 am
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    "made them up"

    Haha if you only knew

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  • August 26, 2019 at 1:46 am
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    Pretty cool being a walking battle field

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  • August 26, 2019 at 4:53 am
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    It’s about time we found a alternative to antibiotics

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  • August 26, 2019 at 5:10 am
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    Unless they evolve inside our bodies and then WE get chest-bursted instead

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  • August 26, 2019 at 12:01 pm
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    Humans: * has cancer *

    CANCER:hahahahahaha you are dead know,wait what is this thing
    Cancer: * touches phage *
    Phage:How dare you oppose me Mortal!!
    Cancer:Noooo!!!
    Phage:Yeahh!!!!!!!!!
    Human:What is happening right now I hope the phages work

    Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 12:58 pm
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    4:43 omg i loved that game as a kid.
    we used to play with friends all the time. good times.
    i love this channel. it's interesting*and* fun

    dammit guys right in the feels

    Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 1:57 pm
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    An alliance between the 2 deadliest beings on this planet…I like it

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  • August 26, 2019 at 2:51 pm
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    The head is almost like Gem

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  • August 26, 2019 at 2:57 pm
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    5:10
    New war
    Bacteriophage vs Bacteria

    Reply
  • August 26, 2019 at 4:43 pm
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    5:11 that scream when the bacteria dies , can some me give me it source

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  • August 26, 2019 at 7:14 pm
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    5:05 could be ww3

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  • August 26, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    4:49 worms, except the worms are now bacteria.

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  • August 26, 2019 at 7:56 pm
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    are bacteriophages conscious?

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  • August 26, 2019 at 8:47 pm
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    DOPE

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  • August 26, 2019 at 9:16 pm
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    5:12 wilhelm scream
    AHHHHWw

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  • August 26, 2019 at 10:36 pm
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    4:41 the worms reference ❤️

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  • August 27, 2019 at 3:20 am
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    So just like that we've found a plausible answer to superbugs or Rhino viruses like the Flu? Neat.
    We really needed this extra help against microbes because we can migrate and spread them with us faster then even birds probably.

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  • August 27, 2019 at 10:05 am
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    There is actually serious comments in this video XD

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  • August 27, 2019 at 10:34 am
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    Bill and Melinda? Hmm… Sounds suspicious.

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  • August 27, 2019 at 10:55 am
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    IF u say phage Can evolve thats mean They Can evolve no kill the human cell it evolve more strong…… is this real Pls

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  • August 27, 2019 at 3:35 pm
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    The original grey goo scenario

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  • August 27, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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    In many aspects, phages are "Aliens (the movie)" of the microscopic world and Bacterium their unfortunate breeding hosts…

    Anatomy, way of injecting material into host, bursting of the bacterium to release the new phages inside and so on…

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  • August 27, 2019 at 5:44 pm
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    This is how many ppl got guns of glory ad on the start
    |
    |

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  • August 27, 2019 at 5:54 pm
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    What if phages evolve to kill us

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  • August 27, 2019 at 6:58 pm
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    Phage: "Hang On" Nutting
    Bacteria:excuse me What The F-Explodes

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  • August 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm
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    I get sick at 1 times a year or a year and 5 months lucky me and is that normal

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  • August 28, 2019 at 12:44 am
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    Phage: enters body
    Cell: Hey how's it going man
    Phage: Pretty good
    Flu virus: Hehehehehheheehehehe
    Phage: Imma stop you right there
    Flu virus: High-pitched demonic screeching

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 12:52 am
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    Phages are my new favourite animal

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  • August 28, 2019 at 4:43 am
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    Just wait till humans start making phages

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  • August 28, 2019 at 7:22 am
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    Complement:fired
    Phages:hired

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  • August 28, 2019 at 7:22 am
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    Complement:fired
    Phages:hired

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  • August 28, 2019 at 7:37 am
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    6:55 how did you say that!?

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  • August 28, 2019 at 10:32 am
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    Heres a meme: Humans are basically entity 333. but phages is herobrine. Herobrine and entity 333 team up

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  • August 28, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Bacteria: im The Strongest thing

    Phages: BEGONE

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  • August 28, 2019 at 11:43 am
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    Nice animation keep up the good work!

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  • August 28, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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    Time travelers from the future please look at this and tell me

    What has this done for us

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  • August 28, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    What if the phages begun to attacks hunans due to evolution

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  • August 28, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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    i love bacteriophages so much, they're so cute i dont know why but i love them

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  • August 28, 2019 at 8:12 pm
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    Every one seems to ignore this but….. WHAT IF PHAGES EVOLVED TO INFECT HUMAN CELLS?

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  • August 28, 2019 at 10:03 pm
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    This video made me itchy

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  • August 28, 2019 at 11:29 pm
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    Humans are the deadliest

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  • August 28, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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    Humans: scared that bateria are the most deadliest

    Also humans: watches this video

    Not gonna lie they had us in the first half

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 10:14 am
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    Bacteria: *exist*
    Phage: I'm 'bout to do what's called a pro gamer move.

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  • August 29, 2019 at 10:24 am
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    The deadliest organism being researched with funding from the deadliest organization. THE GATES FOUNDATION. Interesting.

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  • August 29, 2019 at 11:29 am
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    Bacteria have a secret weapon too, CRISPR

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  • August 29, 2019 at 1:42 pm
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    Superbugs:acts like human cell*
    Phage:starts killing human cells*
    Superbugs:😐
    Humans:😐

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  • August 29, 2019 at 2:36 pm
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    Humans:phages what about teaming?we have penisilin for helping u
    Phages:sounds good
    Bacterias:hey dude wtf this is a solo game report

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  • August 30, 2019 at 1:38 am
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    Y do I keep watching this video

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  • August 30, 2019 at 7:04 am
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    Who else noticed the Wilhelm Scream?

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  • August 30, 2019 at 7:19 am
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    Wait if we let the phases in our body will our stomach blow up?

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  • August 30, 2019 at 8:19 am
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    I almost never take antibiotica because i dont want to drug myself for a dumb headache….

    Reply

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