Published in Current Pharmaceutical Journal
In the context of seeking different therapeutic techniques to tackle infectious diseases and combine using antibiotics and bacteriophage (kind of viruses that feed on bacteria), Dr. Rami Aziz, Head of the microbiology and the immunology research program in CCHE57357 has co-authored a review article published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, that describes the phases of picking the proper bacteriophages, separating them, and investigating the genetic code to recognize their uses.
“Fighting infectious diseases passed through many stages, starting with discovering sulfa drugs at the beginning of the twentieth century, then discovering antibiotics in the first quarter of the twentieth century, which was then a big therapeutic revolution ” said, Dr. Aziz, based on his working experience that dates back to 2005 focusing on the genomic analysis of these bacteriophages.
Unfortunately, scientists failed to announce their victory over all sorts of bacteria due to the appearance of a type of resistant bacteria to antibiotics.
Over the years, several infections emerged along with the extensive uses of antibiotics.
With the beginning of the 21st century, superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) became life-threatening and according to some predictions this will cause death more than cancer by 2050.
This problematic issue requested the scientists to look back to previous research work that started hundreds of years ago and paused with the advent of antibiotics.
One specific research that attracted their attention was the use of bacteriophages, named “viruses” as they exhibit the same function as viruses in inhabiting certain cells while using them to duplicate. In this case, bacteriophages inhabit cells and use them to produce bacteriophages that live on the bacteria.
The major challenge of this therapeutic method is to spot and separate the proper bacteriophages for each kind of bacteria, specifically as they are highly specialized. “Each type of bacteria is attacked by several bacteriophages, sometimes the bacteriophage may attack only certain strains of the same bacteria”, added Dr. Aziz. Hence, came the idea of reviewing this article, as it will help scientists to save time and effort by demonstrating the stages of selecting these viruses or bacteriophages, their separation phases and identifying their genetic code, and comparing them to select the most appropriate one.
Regarding the present uses of this method, Dr. Aziz said that some countries presently using it for treating injuries and skin infections. For instance, Georgia and Poland started to initiate a center for this therapy by combining it with antibiotics. “I think this therapeutic approach will have great importance in the future, especially with the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance, which it will hopefully solve, knowing that we depend on combining antibiotics and bacteriophage to realize the best results”