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Author Topic: Will phages replace the use of failing antibiotics  (Read 55 times)
Jet Cash
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April 01, 2019, 02:42:02 PM
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There seems to be a revival in the interest in bacteriophage following the increasing ineffectiveness of antibiotics. This should improve world health, and reduce the profits of the Big Pharma companies. Hopefully we will start to see an increase in their use fairly soon. They were discovered in 1919, but were sidelined for apparent political reasons. There are quite a few videos around, but this one gives a brief intro to their history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32DAiICOxoM
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April 04, 2019, 02:28:57 PM
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I'm encouraged. There are several videos and comments about this that are starting to appear, and I understand that the government has started to research this with the objective of adding treatment to the health system. Hopefully they will keep this away from big pharma.
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April 04, 2019, 02:37:25 PM
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I took an elective course in virology back in 1999, and though I don't remember much from it, I do recall the structure of bacteriophages.  Their capsid looks like an alien spaceship with legs if I recall correctly.  Haven't watched the video yet.

Interesting concept, though I wonder how safe it is using a virus to kill bacteria.  Viruses do mutate, and I would think it'd be possible that a phage could somehow infect human cells given enough time.  That's my initial thought, but I'm no expert in viruses.

Why do you think big pharma wouldn't profit from this?  If indeed phages started to get used as medicine, someone would have to manufacture and distribute them to pharmacies and so forth.  I'd say it would actually be a big opportunity for them--but again, I haven't yet watched that video or read anything about this.  I'll look into it some and perhaps edit this post.
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April 04, 2019, 03:37:07 PM
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I need to do some more reading, and I'm not sure how they would introduce cultured phages into the body. It seems that we already have millions in us, and they rush to protect an open wound, but those would be "natural" phages. I understand that they need to match phages to specific bacterial types.

How would Big Pharma be able to keep alive batches of phages to provide a stock for treatment?
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April 04, 2019, 03:46:47 PM
Merited by Carlton Banks (3), malevolent (1), Pmalek (1)
 #5

How would Big Pharma be able to keep alive batches of phages to provide a stock for treatment?
Viruses aren't "alive".  They're just some genetic material surrounded by a protein coat.  They don't have organelles like cells do; they don't metabolize energy sources; and they can't reproduce outside of a host.  They basically hijack a cell's machinery to make more viruses. 

And I have no idea how you'd make a useful product out of a bacteriophage.  I do know that an entire field of pharmcology is devoted to drug delivery systems (pharmaceutics), and they've come up with some pretty incredible stuff like extended-release drugs and that kind of thing.  I had a friend who got his PhD in pharmaceutics, and he was working on liposomal delivery of some kind of DNA-based thing.  It's tough, because your body tries to get rid of anything foreign that it can't use. 

Ever wonder why you can't take insulin or a vaccine orally?  Ever wonder why there haven't been gene therapies yet?  That's all part of what they work on, and I would think that pharmaceutical science might be able to figure out how to use phages for infections, assuming they're useful and safe.  Bacteria are figuring out ways to get past most antibiotics, and it's just a matter of time before they're resistant to everything on the market.  If we don't start cranking out new classes of antibiotics, we're screwed.  Superbugs are going to emerge eventually which nothing will be able to treat.  That might not happen in my lifetime, but it *could* happen.
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