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Bacteriophage. 2012 Jul 1;2(3):186-189.

Can phage effectively treat multidrug-resistant plague?

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Bacterial Diseases Branch; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Silver Spring, MD USA.


The spread of natural or weaponized drug-resistant plague among humans is a credible high consequence threat to public health that demands the prompt introduction of alternatives to antibiotics such as bacteriophage. Early attempts to treat plague with phages in the 1920s-1930s were sometimes promising but mostly failed, purportedly due to insufficient knowledge of phage biology and poor experimental design. We recently reported the striking stability of plague diagnostic bacteriophages, their safety for animal use, propagation in vivo and partial protection of mice from deadly plague after a single injection of phage. In this addendum we reflect on that article, other recent publications and our unpublished data, and discuss the prospects of phage therapy against plague.

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