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Is phage therapy a new weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance?

van Beek, Jasper (2019) Is phage therapy a new weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance? Colloquium, Biomedical Sciences.

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The discovery of antibiotics created a gigantic leap forward in medicine. Broad-spectrum antibiotics can be used against a wide range of bacteria without having to identify the specific pathogen, ultimately resulting in a misuse of antibiotics. The overuse in animal farming and over-prescription in health care have led to bacteria adapting, and dealing with several types of antibiotics. The survival against antibiotic treatments allowed many strains and species to gain antibiotic resistance and even to become multi-drug resistant. In 2050, this antimicrobial resistance is estimated to cause 10 million human deaths worldwide. This threat rejuvenated the need for alternative antimicrobial strategies, including phage therapy. Phages where first described by Twort and D’Herelle almost 100 years ago. Both scientists observed phages to have antimicrobial properties, ten years before Flemming discovered penicillin. Nowadays, Georgia is the only country where phage therapy is a component of standard health care. There is still a lot of controversy surrounding phage therapy, primarily due to poor documentation of use of bacteriophages and its success rate. Nevertheless, phages are now recognized as one of the potential solutions to increasing issue of antimicrobial resistance development in human pathogenic bacteria. Advantages of phages over antibiotics are their host-specificity, self-amplification, biofilm degradation potential and low toxicity to humans. Although much is still unknown about the interactions between bacteriophages, bacteria, and the human host, the application of phage therapy seems to be imminent. This colloquium will explore characteristics of bacteriophages, give an overview of current therapeutic opportunities, compare phage therapy with antibiotic treatment methods, and further treatment options using phage components such as phage lysins will be examined. Thus, illustrating how phages could be used as a weapon in the fight against multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria.

Item Type: Thesis (Colloquium)
Supervisor name: Kok, J.
Degree programme: Biomedical Sciences
Thesis type: Colloquium
Language: English
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2019
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2019 10:35

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