Why Is Phage Therapy Not Used?

Where can phages be found?

Also known as phages (coming from the root word ‘phagein’ meaning “to eat”), these viruses can be found everywhere bacteria exist including, in the soil, deep within the earth’s crust, inside plants and animals, and even in the oceans.

The oceans hold some of the densest natural sources of phages in the world..

Why are phages not used?

With the exception of treatment options available in a few countries, phages have been largely abandoned as a treatment for bacterial infection. One main reason is because antibiotics have been working well enough over the past 50 years that most countries have not re-initiated a study on the clinical uses of phages.

How long does phage therapy take?

Because of their more broad-spectrum activity, antibiotics select for many resistant bacterial species, not just for resistant mutants of the targeted bacteria (47). Selecting new phages (e.g., against phage-resistant bacteria) is a relatively rapid process that can frequently be accomplished in days or weeks.

Can phage therapy harmful?

Phages multiply and increase in number by themselves during treatment (only one dose may be needed). They only slightly disturb normal “good” bacteria in the body. Phages are natural and easy to find. They are not harmful (toxic) to the body.

Is phage therapy expensive?

One of the main problems with phage therapy, however, is the cost. While it is easier to develop a new phage than it is a new antibiotic, treatment at the Phage Therapy Center in Georgia ranges from $2,500 US dollars for outpatient care to $20,000 for in-patient treatment, in addition to travel costs.

Are phages good?

HIV, Hepatitis C, and Ebola have given viruses a bad name, but microscopic phages are the good guys of the virology world. Each phage specializes in overtaking certain strains of bacteria—for example, staph, strep, and E. coli—which they attack and use as a host to multiply.

Can a bacteriophage make a human sick?

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria but are harmless to humans. To reproduce, they get into a bacterium, where they multiply, and finally they break the bacterial cell open to release the new viruses.

Who invented phage therapy?

Felix d’HerelleTwo years later, Felix d’Herelle, a microbiologist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, picked up where Twort left off and first proposed phages as a therapy for human infections.

Are phages alive?

Bacteriophages, or “phages” for short, are viruses that specifically infect bacteria. Phages and other viruses are not considered living organisms because they can’t carry out biological processes without the help and cellular machinery of another organism.

Why is phage therapy better than antibiotics?

Phages won’t harm any of your cells except for the bacterial cells that they’re meant to kill. Phage therapy has fewer side effects than antibiotics. On the other hand, most antibiotics have a much wider host range. Some antibiotics can kill a wide range of bacterial species at the same time.

What is the purpose of phage therapy?

Phage therapy is the use of bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections. This could be used as an alternative to antibiotics when bacteria develop resistance. Superbugs that are immune to multiple types of drugs are becoming a concern with the more frequent use of antibiotics.

Do phages die?

In the lytic cycle, a phage acts like a typical virus: it hijacks its host cell and uses the cell’s resources to make lots of new phages, causing the cell to lyse (burst) and die in the process.

Is phage a virus?

Bacteriophage, also called phage or bacterial virus, any of a group of viruses that infect bacteria. Bacteriophages were discovered independently by Frederick W. Twort in Great Britain (1915) and Félix d’Hérelle in France (1917).

Can phages kill superbugs?

Working together as a phage cocktail, lytic phages can target and destroy superbugs. When the bacteria begin to resist the phages, biologists can genetically modify the phages to better attack the bacteria. The phages can even work in concert with antibiotics, applying evolutionary pressure from both sides.

What is phage therapy and how does it work?

Phages, formally known as bacteriophages, are viruses that solely kill and selectively target bacteria. They are the most common biological entities in nature, and have been shown to effectively fight and destroy multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Can bacteria become resistant to phages?

Bacteria can resist phage attack through different mechanisms, including spontaneous mutations, restriction modification systems, and adaptive immunity via the CRISPR-Cas system [5]. Spontaneous mutations are the main mechanisms driving both phage resistance and phage–bacterial coevolution [6].