Experts assess how to overcome antibiotic resistance with phage therapy 

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – The spread of antibiotic resistance cases has increasingly worried health practitioners and researchers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance will be one of the biggest causes of death in 2030. Antibiotic resistance occurs when a person takes antibiotics not as recommended by doctors. Patients usually do not comply with the dose of the drug to be taken, the time schedule of the drug consumed, and the length of the period the drug must be spent.

Seeing this condition, researchers and health practitioners starting look at bacteriophage or phage as an alternative way to minimize cases of antibiotic resistance. Phage itself is a therapy that already exists and has been used from the 1920s to treat human infectious diseases.

“Phage therapy to treat infectious diseases is still not popular in Indonesia. The study on Phage therapy has developed rapidly in the United States and Europe as an alternative to overcome the case of antibiotic resistance, “said Rizka Oktarianti Ainun Jariah, Lecturer in Faculty of Vocational Studies UNAIR.

Rizka Oktarianti also said the therapy is a healing process of infectious diseases, the interaction between bacteria, phages, and the human immune system needs to be known in depth.

“Phage, bacteria, and the human immune system are known to have complex interactions. In particular, phages and bacteria, both of which are known to have competitive interactions. That is, changes, on the one hand, can cause extinction on the other. Thus, the only way to survive is through adaptation that is against, “he said.

In applying Phage therapy of human infection, it is very important to have a deep understanding of how phage interacts with bacteria and at the same time can also modify the human immune system. Phage naturally exists in human bodies with diverse populations. Therefore, it is also proven to interact naturally with the immune system in the human body.

Various studies have examined the interaction of phage and the adaptive immune system in humans. In general, it can induce an immune response but not significantly. In the context of therapy, the phage can kill and cause bacterial cell lysis so that bacterial particles can increase the activation of the immune response. Furthermore, it can ‘envelop’ bacterial cells and induce more immune cells.

Even so in its application, the therapy still found several blind spots. But research on Phage therapy is developing progressively, and US Food and Drug Administration has approved the implementation of Phage therapy. So that this Phage therapy can be tried as an alternative way.

“The possibility of phage resistance in bacteria is also possible. As with antibiotic resistance, a deeper understanding of the method of isolation and phage production to prevent this risk still needs to be investigated more deeply, “said Rizka Oktarianti.

Author: Tunjung Senja Widuri

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

The following sources/links related to the article: https://doi.org/10.1002/rmv.2055

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