Bacteriophage therapy

What is phage therapy used for?

Phage therapy (PT) is also called bacteriophage therapy . It uses viruses to treat bacterial infections. Bacterial viruses are called phages or bacteriophages . They only attack bacteria; phages are harmless to people, animals, and plants.

What are the side effects of phage therapy?

Multiple side effects, including intestinal disorders, allergies , and secondary infections (e.g., yeast infections ) have been reported (76). A few minor side effects reported (17, 58) for therapeutic phages may have been due to the liberation of endotoxins from bacteria lysed in vivo by the phages.

How much does phage therapy cost?

One of those is the Phage Therapy Centre, an American-owned subsidiary which is bringing foreign patients to Tbilisi for phage treatments on diabetic foot, burns, ulcers, osteomyelitis, and drug-resistant infections such as MRSA. A course of treatment costs between US$8000 and $20 000.

Can bacteriophage harm humans?

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.

What disease does bacteriophage cause?

These include diphtheria , botulism , Staphylococcus aureus infections (i.e. skin and pulmonary infections , food poisoning, and toxic shock syndrome), Streptococcus infections , Pasteurella infections , cholera , Shiga toxing-producing Shigella and Escherichia coli infections , and Pseudomonas aeruginosa 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.

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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 .

Do phages have DNA?

A bacteriophage (/bækˈtɪərioʊfeɪdʒ/), also known informally as a phage (/feɪdʒ/), is a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria and archaea. Bacteriophages are composed of proteins that encapsulate a DNA or RNA genome, and may have structures that are either simple or elaborate.

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.

Is phage therapy FDA approved?

The first US clinical trial of intravenously administered bacteriophage therapy has received FDA approval .

How do I get phage therapy?

Getting phage therapy to a patient can be a bit a puzzle. These viruses are picky about the microbes they feast on, so you often need to take a swab of the patient’s bacteria, nurture it in a dish, and then test which phages are able to kill it off.

Will phage therapy replace 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.

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How is bacteriophage spread?

Cell bursting, or lysis, releases hundreds of new phages, which can find and infect other host cells nearby. In this way, a few cycles of lytic infection can let the phage spread like wildfire through a bacterial population.

How does bacteriophage survive?

During the lysogenic life cycle, the genome of temperate phages is integrated into the bacterial chromosome. For example, phages drive bacterial evolution by delivering bacterial DNA fragments to neighbouring bacteria by generalized transduction.

Can bacteriophages 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.

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