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Bacteriophage. 2016 Aug 11;6(3):e1220348. eCollection 2016 Jul-Sep.

Phage therapy dosing: The problem(s) with multiplicity of infection (MOI).

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Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University , Mansfield, OH, USA.


The concept of bacteriophage multiplicity of infection (MOI) - ratios of phages to bacteria - historically has been less easily applied than many phage workers would prefer or, perhaps, may be aware. Here, toward clarification of the concept, I discuss multiplicity of infection in terms of semantics, history, mathematics, pharmacology, and actual practice. For phage therapy and other biocontrol purposes it is desirable, especially, not to solely employ MOI to describe what phage quantities have been applied during dosing. Why? Bacterial densities can change between bacterial challenge and phage application, may not be easily determined immediately prior to phage dosing, and/or target bacterial populations may not be homogeneous with regard to phage access and thereby inconsistent in terms of what MOI individual bacteria experience. Toward experiment reproducibility and as practiced generally for antibacterial application, phage dosing instead should be described in terms of concentrations of formulations (phage titers) as well as volumes applied and, in many cases, absolute numbers of phages delivered. Such an approach typically will be far more desirable from a pharmacological perspective than solely indicating ratios of agents to bacteria. This essay was adapted, with permission, from an appendix of the 2011 monograph, Bacteriophages and Biofilms, Nova Science Publishers.


MOI; multiplicity of adsorption; multiplicity of infection; phage therapy; pharmacology

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