Finally Time For Phage Therapy?
Is it finally time for phage therapy? Antibiotic resistance is a major concern as more people develop antibiotic-resistant bacterial or fungal infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 2.8 million Americans are currently dealing with these infections. However, that number is likely underreported. Clearly, the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance is a cause for concern, as current solutions may not be sufficient to address the problem. It is important to continue exploring and developing new solutions to address this issue.
There are potential solutions worth exploring. One example is phytotherapy, the use of plant extracts. While this approach has shown promise in some cases, it is often not well-studied and can take a long time to produce results. Additionally, it is not commonly recommended by physicians due to a lack of understanding about its potential benefits. However, it is important to note that phytotherapy is not the only possible solution available.
Radial shockwave therapy, also known as radial extracorporeal shockwave therapy, has shown potential in destroying biofilms and wound healing. It has been used in various settings as an adjunct treatment alongside antibiotics or phytotherapy. It has shown promise in treating conditions such as BPH and soft tissue infections. Moreover, it has also been used to help control infections related to catheters and implants. While this technology is still being explored and has limitations, such as the need for multiple weeks or months to see results, it has the potential as a complementary treatment. However, it is not currently recommended as a standalone treatment.
While alternative treatments such as phytotherapy and radial shockwave therapy may be effective for certain conditions, more immediate and stronger options are needed for the many conditions these treatments cannot address. Scientists are working to find new solutions to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, but so far, a definitive solution has proven elusive. However, one more approach has shown promise and may hold the key to a solution – or at least provide a temporary reprieve. Unfortunately, this highly effective approach has largely been forgotten in recent times.
Phage therapy, also known as bacteriophage therapy, involves using viruses (phages) to target and attack specific bacteria to eradicate the infection. While this may sound like science fiction, phage therapy has been around for over 100 years and has been highly effective in many cases. With advances in technology and the demonstrated effectiveness of phage therapy against several antibiotic-resistant infections, it is worth considering this approach as a potential solution moving forward.
Some may question the efficacy and value of phage therapy if it has not been widely used in recent times. However, it is important to understand that phage therapy only fell out of favor with the introduction of antibiotics, which are easier to take (though not necessarily safer). It takes time and money to discover, research, and test which viruses will be most effective against specific bacteria, and researching the many different viruses can be costly. However, with the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance, it is crucial to consider phage therapy as a potential solution. We cannot afford to delay any longer in finding a solution to this issue and must prioritize our health.
Imagine a future where conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, chronic UTIs, Clostridioides difficile, MRSA, chronic bacterial prostatitis, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Campylobacter infections, and tuberculosis can be effectively treated with targeted therapies that do not destroy the body’s microflora like current antibiotics. These therapies would target specific bacteria and clear the infection in a matter of days. While this may sound like a dream, it has already been achieved for some individuals.
At some point, we will need to face the reality that antibiotics are becoming less effective, and more people are developing antibiotic-resistant infections. Broad-spectrum antibiotics can weaken the body’s immune system while also making the targeted bacteria stronger. Sometimes, these antibiotics can even cause secondary infections such as Candida infections. When the immune system is weakened, Candida can become a deadly fungal infection affecting the blood, heart, brain, eyes, and bones.
This scenario is a reality for millions of Americans. Every 11 seconds, someone in the United States develops an antibiotic-resistant infection that cannot be cured with current therapies. It is important to address this issue before it becomes even more widespread. We must stop delaying and work towards finding solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Phage therapy has a long history of effectiveness and has the potential to be a valuable tool in the fight against antibiotic resistance. While more research is needed to fully understand the long-term impact and potential for resistance to phage therapy, there is already a strong track record of its effectiveness. While it may not be a complete or final solution, it can be a valuable addition to the medical community’s arsenal of tools for addressing the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. At the very least, it can give scientists more time to explore and develop new technologies and approaches.
Of course, one of the benefits of phage therapy is that it offers an almost limitless potential for addressing different infections. An estimated quadrillion quadrillion individual viruses on Earth provide an almost endless supply of options for exploration. Unlike antibiotics, phage therapy is unlikely to run out of options for treating different infections. This is a significant advantage of this approach.
This article aims to inform you about the problem of antibiotic resistance and a potential solution in the form of phage therapy. By understanding this issue and the potential of phage therapy, you can advocate for its use and increase its demand. As the demand for phage therapy grows, it is more likely to become mainstream and more cost-effective. We need to be aware of this issue and the potential solutions that exist to positively impact the fight against antibiotic resistance.
As far as I am aware, only one location in the United States is actively researching and deploying phage therapy. Unfortunately, patients in the United States (currently) only have access to this therapy if they and their physician are aware of the option, if its use is considered a last resort, if it is approved for emergency use by the FDA, and if the patient can arrange treatment with UC San Diego health. These requirements create numerous hurdles and limitations for individuals seeking this potentially promising therapy. Unfortunately, so many people continue to suffer and die each year due to the lack of accessibility to phage therapy and other alternative treatments.
With that said, I should also inform you about Enzybiotics. These are basically a “second-generation” phage therapy. Also known as Bacteriophage-Based Enzybiotics, these are enzyme and phage-based antibacterials. Like traditional phages, they can be targeted to specific bacteria and have a low possibility of bacterial resistance development. While there are not nearly enough being studied, some are already being commercially developed, and some are undergoing clinical trials. So, if you happen to suffer from an antibiotic-resistant infection, you might ask your health provider about this option as well.
Now, whether enzybiotics are better than traditional phages is up for debate. Perhaps it also depends on the infection you might be dealing with. Fully functional bacteriophages can potentially replicate, which might help to ensure the ongoing eradication of the offending bacteria. Enzybiotics, such as bacteriocins, are incapable of replicating. There are pros and cons to each, I suppose. Though, for those suffering, I’m not sure they care too much.
Either way, it is time to take action and explore the potential of phage therapy as a solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance. While it may not be the ultimate answer, it can certainly be a better option than what is currently available. We must prioritize research and development of phage therapy before it is too late. Many people suffering from chronic infections would be willing to participate in trials to test the effectiveness of this therapy. Let’s do what we can to help these individuals by making phage therapy more accessible and available.
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Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.