Why Phage Therapy is Better than Antibiotics?
Phage therapy is incredible cure to antibiotic resistance. Felix d’Herelle was the first scientist to identify the phage therapy that how its emergence can kill specific targeted bacteria and coined the word “bacteriophage” (bacteria-eater) along with Fredrick Twort. They also ran clinical treatment of phage which ended in success. It opens gate for everyone but Tbilisi in Georgia has Eliava institute that solely works in production of versatile phages and deals with different patients from all over the world, it was founded at 1933 but phage therapy was abandoned as antibiotics were discovered after World War 2. Bacteriophages are the viruses of bacteria, composed of DNA and RNA moves around bacterium to bacterium enclosed with protein capsids.
Antimicrobial resistance is causing deaths of millions every year. Not only developing countries but also developed countries have failed to combat AMR. It has been estimated by researchers that by 2050 ten million people will be dead just because of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Clinical trials of phage therapy tends to be noticed and given importance as a cure.
By studies it have been proved that phage therapy holds the potential to effectively control inflammation caused by disease as parallel to attacking bacteria on its target site. There are two kinds of phages one lytic phage known as virulent and another lysogenic phage known as temperate phages. Lytic phages are those which follows lytic pathway and simply destroy the cell by adhering to the bacterial cell and then penetrate nucleic acid releasing new phage component proteins, nucleic acids. Lysogenic pathway is totally different as the temperate viruses do not kill the infected host bacterial cells. Their chromosome becomes integrated into a specific section of host cell chromosome while inserting genome into host DNA, it becomes dormant and while it’s dormant virus replicates but in lytic cycle virus constantly replicates.
Lytic bacteriophage system also called holin-lysin system. Two group of proteins are required to kill the host cell holins and endolysin. Holins synergize with endolysin and also control the time of bacterial cell lysis and endolysin does the lysis part, death of host cell. Also some lytic bacteriophages use single proteins to block the synthesis of peptidoglycan called amurins.
Alexander flemming warned us 60 years ago about antibiotic resistance and now it’s actually happening and we need to find alternative ways to treat ourselves without the help of antibiotics. Phage therapy is the best cure of this resistance, Phages are found to be approximately 10 power 7 in per ml in liquid and 10 power 9 in sediment, can be found in harsh conditions as deserts and hot springs. .
Phages are considered as natural processes because they are xenobiotics composed of nucleic acids and amino acids entirely unlike antibiotics. Phage developing procedure is cheaper than antibiotics and effective against multi drug resistant pathogenic bacteria. Phages are very target oriented, so firstly it is important to diagnose infection in bacteria contrary with antibiotics where they had a broad range of target and mostly treat undiagnosed bacterial infection. Most of the threatening diseases does not have ultimate cure, so patients are on antibiotics for lifetime but phage therapy treatment includes reduced dosages because of its self-replicative nature. Furthermore, custom treatments are also available in phage therapies for some hard to treat bacterial diseases. Sometimes the dosages which work in vitro does not work in vivo so potentially strong phages are required to treat the effect in live host than in cell culture.
Due to the presence of antibiotic resistance mutation, it has been proposed that bacteria can also be resistant against phages but phages are host specific and they evolve as bacteria evolves and sometimes even stronger than bacteria so bacterial resistance is not a problem for phages. Phage therapy are hard to patent due to being natural discovery so that is why many pharmaceutical companies shows very confined interest in phages and funding is difficult to gather for this type of research. Phages are licensed to be used in food processing industry to reduce the use of antibiotics and likewise phage Listeria sp., targets the foodborne pathogen is used in dairy industry.
Why Phage Therapy is better than Antibiotics; facts:
Phage therapy have many unique advantage over antibiotics. The most interesting thing in it is that as bacteria evolve resistance, relevant phages also evolve resistance alongside. When bacterium appears, phage already attacks it. Phages penetrate deeper as the infection is unlike like antibiotics, which decrease in concentration.
- Bacteriophages are very site specific, only attack on targeted site, no secondary infections occur
- Replicate at the site of infection unlike antibiotics
- There are no side effects present of phage therapy
- Selecting new phage is work of two weeks while synthesizing new antibiotic takes a lot of time.
- Phage therapy costs $2,500 in Georgia
Antibiotics are lethal and we have to reach for better options. In 2016, a woman died because of bacterial infection. People are dying because of bacterial diseases and antibiotics are useless as bacteria have become stronger. It takes approximately 10 years for scientist to make new antibiotic for specific disease and get the FDA approval. Bacteriophage is the solution to all of this chaos; which infect virus and then kills it. Phages are able to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. Phage makes a lot of holes inside bacteria and destroy, kill it completely