Phage therapy in Germany – two projects treating patients for the first time

Impressive achievements?

referring to phage expert Christine Rohde, dpa also currently states that no convincing results on phage efficacy have been available in very large clinical trials. But it is said that individual case studies and smaller studies have shown impressive success. In a study recently presented in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases”, 20 patients with stubborn bacterial infections were treated with bacteriophages. The therapy was successful at eleven. Accordingly, no side effects occurred. Ziehr refers to a heterogeneous group of participants that included children and adults with different clinical pictures, complex infections, and different types of pathogens. The fact that more than half of the participants responded to the therapy in these circumstances is impressive, says an expert who did not take part in the work.

Bacteriophages do not completely replace antibiotics, as all experts emphasize. A combination of bacteriophages and antibiotics, based on the so-called phage-antibiotic synergy (PAS), could be a promising path, explains Willy, a phage researcher in Berlin. It has been shown that in a patient previously treated with phage, resistant bacteria can become sensitive to antibiotics again. “A relatively old idea is to combine antibiotics with bacteriophages. In this therapeutic approach, for example, phages would dissolve the compact bacterial biofilm to pave the way for the full effectiveness of the antibiotic, ”states DAZ 27/2018.

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