Bacteriophage therapy is now considered to be the best alternative therapeutics to antibiotic treatment. Although phage therapy was started in 1919, the concept of phage therapy died out in the 1940s due to the production of antibiotics in large amount.
Phage therapy is the use of phage viruses (bacteriophage) to kill bacterial pathogens as well as drug-resistant bacteria that cause life-threatening infection in the human body. Phage therapy was started in 1919, a few years after the discovery of phage by Frederick Twort (1915) and Felix d’He’relle (1917). But a decade later, due to the discovery of first antibiotic penicillin and emergence of pharmaceutical antibiotics in large quantities, the concept of phage therapy died out by 1940s in west Europe.
Bacteriophages are of two types: lytic and lysogenic bacteriophages. Lytic phages are virulent, causing lysis of bacterial cells, allowing lytic phage progeny to be released into the environment. Due to their lytic properties specific to bacteria, they are supposed to be used as alternative therapeutics against multi-drug resistant bacteria. On the other hand, lysogenic phages are the viruses that integrate their whole genome into bacterial chromosome and maintain their DNA replications along with bacterial genome within bacterial cells.
Antibiotic resistance has become a major concern of this world due to misuse and rapid use of antibiotics. This problem causes scientist to find new strategies to combat bacterial pathogens. As many studies have been done for this purpose, phage therapy is mostly discussed topic at present days.
Frederick Twort in 1915 and Fe’lix d’He’relle in 1917 first observed that viruses have antibacterial activities. Since then, phages had been being used against dome bacteria. But due to discovery of antibiotics in 1929 and its rapid emergence in 1940, the concept of phage application died out in west.