Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been one of the global threats as it has been estimated to cause about 700,000 deaths annually; so far, medical practitioners, public health experts and other stakeholders have been battling this global threat. AMR is when microorganisms, including bacteria and other microbes, become invulnerable to antibiotics. Thus, it can be said they become resistant to the prescribed antibiotics. Phages are viruses that attack bacteria, causing considerable damage to the host cell, and are sometimes called Bacteriophages.
PHAGE THERAPY IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO ANTIBIOTICS
Bacteriophages meaning “Bacteria eater”, also known as phages, are viruses that parasitize, infect and replicate within bacteria. They are found everywhere in the environment and are the most abundant biological entities on earth. In recent years, bacteriophages have garnered attention as a potential solution to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), also known as drug resistance.
Phage therapy treats bacterial infections treated with antibiotics but shows no improvement. Therefore phages are used as an alternative to antibiotics and showing remarkable results so far; it has been used in treating various infections ranging from eye, wound, and other bacterial-induced infection. Phages are specific to the bacteria they infect and can kill them without harming other cells. They can be used alone or with antibiotics to treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Phages have been used to treat human infections for over 100 years and are safe and effective in clinical trials.
MEANS OF INDUCING TOXICITY BY PHAGES
Bacteriophages induce toxicity by binding to their specific bacteria of interest and injecting their DNA or RNA genes. Upon binding, they enter bacterial cells and replicate, thereby causing toxicity either by making them lyse or burst, through various processes inside the bacteria; these include the injecting of generic material, replication of genes, translation and transcription, phage assembly and lysis of the host cells, thereby making the cell ineffective.
LIMITATIONS IN PHAGE THERAPY
While the use of bacteriophages as a treatment for AMR is still in the early stages of development, they hold promise as a potential solution to this global health crisis. Further research and clinical trials are needed to fully understand the potential of phages and determine the best ways to use them to combat AMR. However, using bacteriophages as a tool in the fight against AMR is a promising development that offers hope for a future where drug-resistant infections can be effectively treated and prevented.
Phages have proven to be hope against the challenging threat of AMR as several types of research have shown that phages could seriously deter, kill or render bacterial cells harmless by arresting the biosynthetic pathway of that bacteria, however after the introduction of the phages; certain questions need to be answered among which include what will be the relation between the immune cells and the phages, could certain chemicals from the host bacteria like bacteriocin affect the phages activity or Could phages be used alone or in a cocktail? These questions, among many, need to be answered; this will make a field of research for other scientists.