Provide an understanding of whether bacteriophages are good antibiotic replacements, as well as the potential of phage therapy treatment
One study noted that bacteriophages have both potentially detrimental and beneficial effects when used for disease treatment and management. It was noted that because bacteriophages have ecological and evolutionary impacts on their hosts, they can both be used to kill bacterial pathogens and thus therapeutic, but can also increase antibiotic resistance in hosts. Phage therapy, the process of treating bacterial infectious diseases with bacteriophages both addresses and may increase challenges in antibiotic resistance of bacteria. One case study shows bacteriophage therapy to be successful in treating a recurring infection of a knee joint and related chronic osteomyelitis of the femur. The phage therapy successfully treated the infection, which had been drug resistant. Another report notes that bacteriophages may be the most promising alternative to antibiotics, but that there is still a limited amount of research or regulation in the area, meaning execution of clinical trials may be less effective and the treatment may take longer to be adopted. Another issue with bateriophage treatment may be that phage-resistant mutant bacteria emerges as a result, but this issue could be addressed with combined use of phages and antibiotics. One phage treatment case that made news recently was the treatment of cystic fibrosis suffer Ella Balasa, who was treated successfully for her lung infection after she didn’t respond to IV antibiotics.
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