Phage Therapy and the Future

  • Milton W. TaylorEmail author


Who really discovered bacteriophage? Ernest Hankin, a British scientist working in India in the nineteenth century, claimed that the lack of bacterial contamination in the Ganges River was due to the presence of anti-bacterial substance. The idea of using phage to counteract bacterial infections was promoted by Felix d’Herelle. In the 1930s there were large, successful clinical trials in the U.S. using phage to counteract carbuncles and other infections. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly advertised the sale of bacteriophage to counteract various bacterial infections, mistakenly including herpes. Phage therapy was accepted in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union from 1930 until the 1950s, with phage being used to treat dysentery among soldiers in World War II. There was a decline in its use with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but phage therapy is actively being investigated as a treatment to prevent food spoilage, and as a veterinary medicine, and the time is ripe to begin phage therapy clinical trials in the West. There is renewed interest in phage therapy because of the high risk of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.


Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Phage Therapy Lytic Phage Phage Resistance Phage Preparation 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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