Bacteriophages are a natural solution to antibiotic resistance

Health 21 December, 2017


Published the 21.12.2017 at 12h26


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The researchers are interested more and more in the ” phages “, which they call the “nano-machines” of nature. The ” bacteriophages “, or simply “phages,” are viruses that infect and replicate in bacteria. Thanks to a ” strategy predator-prey complex, the phages have the capacity to alter the microbial balance. They therefore have considerable potential to combat resistance to antibiotics and other threats to human health.
A new review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology examines the challenges and opportunities to develop phages as bioantibiotiques commercially viable and improving the health. Among the discoveries, it was learned that the phages have complex relationships with the bacteria in the intestine which could modify the intestinal microbiota, health and disease.

Many of the reported cases of efficacy

Amputation avoided, a festering wound for months, cleaned up in a few days. In both cases, thanks to the application of a product as simple as this : this is the “miracle” of bacteriophage (also called phage in a version that is more popular !) which are, in the last few weeks, many articles.
Not the spectacular result of a new weapon of the pharmaceutical industry, but a simple liquid, made of an almost artisanal, and which contains the famous phage, almost a billion per milliliter. The evolution of life on our planet is undoubtedly linked to the fierce battle between bacteria and phages. Two eternal enemies, but a couple universal in sway standing.

Virus evolution

The phage is the biological entity, the most important on earth. A hundred times smaller than a bacterium. Each of it contains at least one, often several, always ready to attack if the bacteria becomes dangerous. The mutation of phages may explain the cycle of major epidemics, such as cholera. The bacteria of this infectious disease suddenly becomes virulent, leading to very large damage and an epidemic striking. Until the phages that it contains reorganise themselves and destroy all bacteria aggressive. End of the epidemic and return to normality… until the next mutation. During this period of relative peace, the phages are engaged in their second occupation of primary importance : the participation in the transfer of genetic inside the bacterial cell.

A very wide variety of phages

There were about 6000 varieties of phages, it is likely that the world contains many more. But outside of this count, the research seems to consider them as tools for genetic manipulations. That said dr Alain Dublanchet. This doctor, a biologist, former head of department at the hospital of Villeneuve Saint Georges, decided to their devote her new life as a retiree. It has become the French specialist uncontested, but who preaches in a near desert. “Yet the evidence therapy are indisputable. These wounds cleaned, these amputations avoided, which are only a small part of the service that these products can make “.
It speaks of the similar results in lung infections or urinary severe, or cystic fibrosis. “With side effects almost negligible and the speed and spectacular action “. Alain Dublanchet heaps of praise. Except that his enthusiasm is not transmitted ; neither the pharmaceutical industry nor to his fellow academics. The beautiful story remains confidential.

Financial issues

One might think that the financial stakes are significant. The laboratories meet in their primitive form, it is product of natural, non-patentable, therefore, with a gain negligible. The manufacture would give rise to a form of GMO therapeutic with ethical barriers that we can imagine. Biologists do not deny the interest but prefer to confine the phages to the technique of gene transfer, using them as a real “syringes” to do all sorts of manipulations on cells. The “phage therapy” is, however, born in 1919, but the initial enthusiasm has been washed away by the development of antibiotics more powerful. You know the rest of the story : microbes are the resistance and the antibiotics become weapons of operetta.

A revival of phages

Without that we are not talking of new phages. It is probably the pressure of a new form of medicine, much more based on the use of natural processes defence, which will put this research to the mode. However, the world of specialists of infectious diseases, who speaks of “natural medicine goody-goody” requires – precautionary principle requires – comparative studies, long and costly, a decision that no one seems willing to take.

And Alain Dublanchet to conclude : “I am not heard. I don’t trade, it costs me the same money. I’m not saying I’m right, my only motivation is knowledge and all these people who are here to testify “. The phage therapy is neither prohibited nor permitted, which give, for most doctors, the responsibility is too overwhelming for them to be prescribed. The state of our finances is likely to change our mode of decision making.