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Chapter 28 : Phage Therapy
Category: Clinical Microbiology
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Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that infect bacterial hosts and depend on bacterial processes to produce viral proteins and viral particles. This chapter first discusses the phage life cycles, phage receptors, taxonomy, and its genomes. Next, it talks about the impact of phages on bacterial evolution. Early bacteriophage research was largely driven by the desire to use phages to combat bacterial diseases—phage therapy. Early phage therapy researchers used phages to cure shigellosis, cholera, and staphylococcal infections. The chapter presents the major concerns of phage therapy include efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and safety issues. Due to the explosive increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the urgent need for new antimicrobial strategies, phage therapy research has experienced a renaissance. During the last decade, several ambitious in vivo phage therapy studies have been published, some of which are discussed in the chapter. The study of a Listeria monocytogenes phage P100 was conducted according to current guidelines that should accompany the application of phages in therapy. Based on the examples presented in the chapter, the use of bacteriophages to control bacterial infections is promising. The global increase of antibiotic-resistant organisms warrants the exploitation of alternative strategies to manage infectious diseases. The therapeutic use of bacteriophages, perhaps in combination with antibiotics or other treatments, may work. Clear-cut instructions and quality requirements for phage products should be made available.
Examples of phage receptors
Classification of bacteriophages a