Wednesday 9 December 2020

Application of bacteriophages to overcome antimicrobial resistance

A 'phage or bacteriophage is a virus that uses bacteria as its host. They are the most abundant organisms found throughout the Earth’s biosphere, although there are elements of biogeography, with many phages endemic to specific environments. Phages are formed of genetic material in the form of either DNA or RNA, encapsulated by a protein coat (a polyhedral). In many cases, phages kill the host bacterial cell. The types of bacteriophages of most interest as vehicles for bacterial destruction are lytic phages. These viruses disrupt the bacterial metabolism and cause the bacterium to lyse. One reason why there is an undercurrent of interest in bacteriophages is while they kill or inactivate bacterial cells, phages appear to be innocuous to human cells.

As an example of emerging research, a study conducted at Monash University (VIC, Australia) demonstrates how effectively bacteriophages can attack and kill the bacterium Salmonella typhi, the causative agent of typhoid.

Tim Sandle has written a review of bacteriophages for Infectious Disease Hub. The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2020) Application of bacteriophages to overcome antimicrobial resistance, Infectious Disease Hub, at:

 Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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