Treatment and Prevention of Bacterial Infections Using Bacteriophages: Perspectives on the Renewed Interest in the United States
The treatment of bacterial infections using bacteriophage has been utilized for nearly a century in the Republic of Georgia, the former Soviet Union and more recently in Poland. However, its use as a medical intervention in the United States has not been widely supported, largely due to the lack of rigorous clinical data to support its use and specific concerns about the reliability of processes for preparing and characterizing such medications. However, there has been increasing interest in re-evaluating this approach as an alternative strategy to treat, and potentially to prevent, bacterial infections. This renewed interest has been driven primarily by concerns about the increasing resistance of bacterial pathogens to the antibiotics that are currently available. This chapter provides a perspective on the origins of this renewed interest in the United States and the opportunities that may exist for its use, both for medical emergencies where few alternatives are available and for medical indications where phage treatment may offer unique advantages. An effort is made to provide an overview of two recent workshops that were held to consider the medical uses of phage and to summarize current clinical efforts for phage-based interventions. Specific challenges that are related to the use and development of such bacteriophage products are also discussed.
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