The Phage Therapy: A Scope Beyond Antibiotics

Down with fever, cough and sore throat? Cursing the infectious bacteria around you? Going to the doctor and getting long list of antibiotics? Well, why not taking the idea of turning the natural predators of bacteria – THE BACTERIOPHAGE into action. Sounds fantasy, isn’t it, but is really possible.

Bacteriophages or bacterial viruses are viruses attacking bacteria and cause their lyses. Current researches done in this field are trying to find alternative for antibiotics.

How it began in India – Bacteriophage Therapy

Back since the ancient times, river Ganges water was known to cure bacterial diseases. People those who drank it never used to fall sick from tuberculosis, typhoid, etc. There was ‘something’ in the water which reduced the chances of infection or could even cure it.

Ganges : Special at its origin

In the era of British rule in India, along with grievances of wars, came western science. In 1896, a British bacteriologist Ernest Hankin studied the bactericidal properties of Ganges water.  He found that colonies of cholera bacteria that thrived in tap water quickly died in Ganges water. He pursued his experiment by using boiled Ganges water and filtered Ganges water. To his surprise, while the filtered water continued to show an antibacterial effect, the boiled water did not. This clearly indicated that the factor responsible for the water’s bactericidal properties was heat labile but not filterable. In 1916, Felix d’Herelle discovered phages. This explained the mystery behind Ganges water. Bacteriophages are harmless to human beings as they are strain specific and kill only bacteria without any side effects.

 

The current affairs – Bacteriophage Therapy

Phage action on bacteria

Recent studies are been done to treat patients with pneumonia, drug resistant tuberculosis and other bacterial infections.

One of the interesting facts about phages which really fascinates me is that they can cross the Blood-Brain-Barrier (BBB), hence can be useful in targeting infections in brain like meningitis. Meningitis is a bacterial infection causing inflammation of cerebrospinal fluid. It can be deadly if not treated at the proper moment. Drugs available for the treatment of meningitis are less effective as most of them are unable to cross BBB and the antibiotics prescribed have more side effects than cure. With the bacteria evolving and becoming more and more resistant to currently available antibiotics, we need an alternate solution. Bacteriophages can probably be an answer.

The use of bacteriophages is not only restricted to treating bacterial infections but also neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Genetically modified bacteriophages can be used for targeted drug delivery to clear tangled protein and amyloid plaques respectively.

Bacteriophage can really be a new scope in treatment of many disorders if engineered properly. Scientists from all around the world and India as well are working on phage therapy to cure infections but what’s actually next level of it is how we can modify them according to the disease we are aiming at cause being a microorganism, even smaller than bacteria, their genome is less complex to alter and even to introduce our gene of interest.

http://www.geneticengg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/gangs.jpghttp://www.geneticengg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/gangs.jpgUpasana GuptaGeneticsGenome engineeringHealth and Medicineanti-bacteria,bacteria,bacteriophage,Blood brain barrier,cold,ganges,therapyThe Phage Therapy: A Scope Beyond Antibiotics Down with fever, cough and sore throat? Cursing the infectious bacteria around you? Going to the doctor and getting long list of antibiotics? Well, why not taking the idea of turning the natural predators of bacteria - THE BACTERIOPHAGE into action. Sounds fantasy,...When Nature and Science meet, Magic happens !