Is phage theraphy dangerous?

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Offline thedoc

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Is phage theraphy dangerous?
« on: 25/12/2014 16:30:01 »
Karolina Adamczyk  asked the Naked Scientists:
I come from Poland and here it is possible to use phage therapy in Warsaw. To be honest, I was treated with it for 1,5 month.I was drinking phages against Ecoli and Enterococus Fecalis. After about 3-4 weeks from the end of taking phage therapy I have terrible pain in bones and joints up to now. Now I feel better but it lasts over a month. Never before have I felt something like that.
I believe it was caused by this experimental therapy. Please, write to me what you think about it.
Please, if you could tell me honestly how many people are treated by it at present.
I know that this therapy is possible in Georgia and Poland ( other countries do not agree to use it).

Please tell me how many people from other countries and in Georgia use this therapy or maybe they are not treated by it at all.

Please tell me honesty, it is very important for me to learn the truth because information that it is over 80 years old and etc. is accessible in the internet.
I am begging you for understanding.
Thank you in advance

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 25/12/2014 16:30:01 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Re: Is phage theraphy dangerous?
« Reply #1 on: 25/12/2014 20:40:19 »
Unlike antibiotics, Bacteriophages hold out the possibility of targeting particular harmful bacteria, without harming "good" bacteria in our microbiome.

As phages are very specific, it is very hard to grow them in the laboratory without a good supply of pathogens on which they can dine. Unfortunately, if one of these pathogens becomes immune, feeding you the phages may infect you with a pathogen against which the phages offer no protection. Factory-scale growth medium could become overrun with other bacteria unless scrupulous cleanliness was observed.

I am a bit puzzled about why E-Coli was being treated. E-Coli is commonly part of the human microbiome, and most strains are tolerated quite well by most people. It is part of our normal digestive process, and even produces some vitamins. If phages knocked out all your E-Coli, you could be left with digestive problems and a dietary shortfall.

In "western" countries, we don't have much experience with phages; under the current framework, it would be almost impossible to deliver such a therapy for both economic and regulatory reasons.

(Can a virologist advise here?)