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Perspectives on phage-antibiotic synergy in clinical applications of phage therapy

Segall AM, Roach DR, Strathdee SA.

Stronger together? Perspectives on phage-antibiotic synergy in clinical applications of phage therapy

Current Opinion in Microbiology, 2019, 51: 46-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2019.03.005

Highlights

- Phage-antibiotic synergy has been reported during treatment of bacterial infections.

- Phage selective pressure can re-sensitize bacteria to antibiotics.

- Existing studies highlight the need for translational studies examining mechanisms.

 

Abstract

Increasingly, clinical infections are becoming recalcitrant or completely resistant to antibiotics treatment and multidrug resistance is rising alarmingly. Patients suffering from infections that used to be treated successfully by antibiotic regimens are running out of the treatment options. Bacteriophage (phage) therapy, long practiced in parts of Eastern Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union, is now being reevaluated as a treatment option complementary to and synergistic with antibiotic treatments. We discuss some current studies that have addressed synergistic killing activity between phages and antibiotics, the issues of treatment order and antibiotic class, and point to considerations that will have to be addressed by future studies. Overall, co-treatments with phages and antibiotics promise to extend the utility of antibiotics in current use. Nevertheless, a lot of work, both basic and clinical, remains to be done before such co-treatments become routine options in the hospital setting.