Aug 14, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

Bacteriophage: Possible Replacement For Antibiotics, Great Efficacy In Combating Superbugs

Apr 19, 2017 07:32 PM EDT

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Group of researchers has proven the efficacy and potency of bacteriophage in battling "superbugs" (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) in mice. The study was conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine together with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center headed by Dr. Anthony Maresso.

 According to Phys.Org, the researchers have followed several steps in conducting the study; from collecting and isolating bacteriophage to incorporating resistant bacteria in mice. The main goal of the said study was to find "phage" that would eradicate or kill the 12 strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria isolated from patients, as stated by Dr. Robert Ramig, co-author, and professor of the study.

Ramig originally has a number of bacteriophage in his laboratory but none of it had killed the antibiotic-resistant "Escherichia coli". The first step was "phage hunting"; Maresso, Ramig together with Sabrina Green went to local parks and birds refugees to gather and collect avian and canine feces. Green is a graduate student in the Molecular Urology Program at Baylor.

The researchers then isolated number of bacteriophages from animal feces as stated by Ramig. The good news is a single "phage" may not be able to kill all the 12 bacterial strains but a group of two to three can. This news has inspired the researchers to move on to the next step of the study; testing the isolated "phage" in killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria in mice.

Green developed a mouse model wherein healthy mice received antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The mice, however, did not show any signs of the disease until chemotherapy was initiated. The resistant bacteria even moved to vital organs which led to fatal sepsis-like infection and was not killed by the given drug. Green then started to test the efficacy of bacteriophage in the mice model.

When bacteriophage is introduced to the mice the results were dramatic as stated by Maresso. He also added that "phage" are way easier to discover, isolated, identified and tested compared to synthetic antibiotics. Further studies and clinical trials should be conducted in order to assess the safety and efficacy of "phage".

According to NCBI, bacteriophage or "phage" is a bacterial virus that invades or engulfs bacterial cells. This organism disrupts and interferes with bacterial metabolism and causes lysis of the bacteria. In history, Felix d'Herelle, a French-Canadian microbiologist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris officially discovered the existence of "phage".

After his official discovery, d'Herelle made a decision to clinically utilize bacteriophage to treat dysentery; this is could the first attempt to use "phage" therapeutically in the year 1900s. The approach was able to cease the patient's condition. From this point, d'Herelle produced at least five phage preparations against some bacterial infections.

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