Importance of Bacteriophage in Combating Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI)


Bacteriophages have a potentially important role to play in reducing the global incidence of Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI). Their use should be focused on reducing the use and over-use of antibiotics as part of integrated control measures in conjunction with various vaccination, sanitation procedures and prophylactic and treatment regimens. Bacteriophages offer exquisite specificity and efficacy in killing target bacterial strains, a phenomenon known for almost 100 years. However, their efficacy with respect to broad-spectrum antibiotics is poor due to the highly strain-selective nature of their killing and their rapid elimination from the body. Bacteriophage killing is a naturally-occurring process capable of limiting and eliminating bacterial populations in humans. This is achieved through exponential amplification of their number, if and when, they encounter a target bacterium. Unfortunately, processes employed for their commercial production today do not meet the same rigour as dictated for pharmaceutical products. Batch-to-batch reproducibility and molecular definition of target and phage strains must be demanded before their clinical use can become widespread. Elsewhere, historical data have demonstrated safety in humans beyond any doubt. Because patients continue to die in our healthcare centers internationally, the use of bacteriophage to help fight HAI should be reassessed. Here, relevant literature is reviewed.

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Humphery-Smith, I. (2014) Importance of Bacteriophage in Combating Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI). Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 5, 1192-1201. doi: 10.4236/pp.2014.513131.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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