Are bacteriophages good antibiotic replacements?

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Bacteriophages Treatment Case Studies

Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway is an example of a patient who has undergone a successful bacteriophage treatment to help control and manage her condition. Another case involves a 42-year man with a poly-microbial bone infection that was non-responsive to antibiotics. Full details of both cases are presented below.

Cystic Fibrosis Case

Overview of the Therapy Used

  • Isabelle Carnell-Holdaway, a 17-year old teenager, has cystic fibrosis, which is a result of her deteriorating respiratory condition following a heart transplant in 2017. However, experimental treatment based on bacteriophages helped save her life.
  • While she initially took antibiotics, they failed to treat her condition, infecting her surgical wound, liver, and over 20 different parts on her skin. Carnell-Holdaway says that one doctor told her that she had less than 1% chance of survival.
  • The same doctor, Helen Spencer, a respiratory pediatrician and lung transplant expert based at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, recommended the family to a microbiologist consultant based in the U.S. called Graham Hatfull, who did his thesis on phage therapy.

What Was Done During the Therapy?

Metrics of Success

Poly-microbial Bone Infection Case

Overview of the Therapy Used

What Was Done During the Therapy?

  • Two types of phage viruses were administered to target both the Ab and Kp infections.
  • The therapy involved administering "1 ml of each phage" virus for over 35 minutes.
  • The first three doses were administered while the patient was in the intensive care unit to help monitor any adverse changes.
  • Luckily, no adverse changes were experienced, following the 5-day treatment process.

Metrics of Success

Research Methodology

A thorough examination of medical journals along with scientific publications on websites such as Oxford Academic, CNN, Nature.com, and Live Science featured relevant information regarding examples of case studies showing the effectiveness of phage therapy treatment in managing various medical conditions. The two examples are uncovered from leading scientific databases and feature both quantitative and qualitative data analyses. Comprehensive details of each case, the administering of the phage therapy, and the success metrics, which include healing and improved condition, are elaborated above.
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Bacteriophage Therapy Public Perceptions

The public appears thrilled by the fact that bacteriophage therapy can be used as an alternative treatment for antibiotic-resistant infections. The sentiment across media publications remains positive, with major concerns around affordability, effectiveness, and safety. The sections below provide an overview of what the public is saying regarding bacteriophage therapy and media coverage.

Bacteriophage Therapy Media Analysis

Public Perception Around Bacteriophage Therapy

  • While the general sentiment shows some belief in this kind of therapy treatment, still people are not convinced fully. In this regard, there are still concerns that bacteriophage therapy has to evolve further from individual cases and clinical trials to evidence-based studies that show the therapy is safe, effective, and can be adopted as a routine medical practice.
  • Expert opinions show that while this type of therapy promises to solve various drug-resistant illnesses, it is still far from replacing relatively cheaper antibiotics. Moreover, they are useful for certain applications like ear infections and diabetic foot ulcers, but not all.
  • The public is willing to try bacteriophage therapy. Peter Knox has been battling an antibiotic-resistant infection for over 16 years and has had double lung transplants, but his condition keeps on reoccurring. He is now willing and ready to have the therapy; however, it is unavailable in his country.
  • Another example involves the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) infectious disease epidemiologist, Steffanie Strathdee, who looked for bacteriophage therapy to treat her husband, who was suffering from a multi-drug resistant superbug.
  • The public feels that humans need to evolve faster and be smarter than these antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which evolve naturally to develop a cure. In the meantime, there is no imminent cure, according to Dr. Peter Beyer, a senior advisor at the World Health Organization.
  • The public still fears whether bacteriophage therapies can harm their bodies in ways that are not directly related to toxicity due to their unpopularity. Moreover, it is not approved for use in the U.S. and Europe; therefore, the public is not ready to try these therapies until they are approved as effective treatment options.

Research Methodology

A thorough examination of press releases, reports, news articles, and medical and scientific journals show that there has been a positive coverage regarding bacteriophage therapy, evidenced by the growth in the industry through mergers, partnerships, and continued clinical trials. Most press releases and news reports published in public indicate positive developments in this line of therapy, which is an indicator of positive sentiments in the media. To uncover these findings, your research team examined several press releases, reports, and news articles published by PR Newswire, Forbes, iNews, Today Tamu Edu, Healthline, and Clarivate. These sources also featured insights into the public perceptions around bacteriophage therapy. The consumer sentiments were retrieved to provide a general overview of this therapy. Different organizations in different geographies publish the reports explored. In this regard, the sentiments involve individuals from different parts of the world to show an overall perception of the global population. Overall, the insights and sentiments show the type of positive press bacteriophage therapy has received, including what the public thinks about this form of alternative therapy for treating antibiotic-resistant conditions.
Sources
Sources