In this issue

Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 1


Vertical Transmission

The ASM Council and Executive Committee had a very productive meeting in February to review our activities and to plan ahead for the coming year, and I would like to bring to your attention several new and ongoing initiatives that give our members maximum value for their membership.


In order to avoid a return to the pre-antibiotic era, alternative treatments to combat microbial diseases are urgently needed. In this context, bacteriophages, which have been used effectively in distant parts of the world during the cold war era, are now gaining significant interest in the West. This special issue of the Microbiology Australia thus focusses on bacteriophages with contributions from Australia and from the members of the Expert round table on acceptance and re-implementation of bacteriophage therapy.

Bacteriophage therapy: coping with the growing antibiotic resistance problem

The global problem of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens requires urgent actions, including the development of therapies supplementary or alternative to antibiotics. One of the infection control options could be phage therapy. This article gives a brief overview of phage therapy potentials as well as the challenges it faces in order to become a widely accepted form of infection treatment.

Clinical application of bacteriophages in Europe

Bacteriophages could help address the antibiotic resistance crisis that impacts health systems all over the world. In 2011, the European Commission formally confirmed that phage products used as therapeutics are medicinal products and thus manufacturers need to navigate the extremely arduous and enormously expensive medicine development and marketing pathway. However, up until now, not one therapeutic phage product has made it to the European market, and yet clinicians are under increasing pressure to use phages in the treatment of multidrug-re...

The future of phage clinical trials in Australia

Australia is well positioned to conduct clinical trials in phage-based technology. Despite challenges with translating phage therapy to mainstream medicine, our regulations are designed for safe and innovative development. Recent success indicates that Australia is ideal for conducting further phage clinical trials. There are also expert clinical research organisations and generous tax incentives.

Bacteriophage therapy for severe infections

The rise of multiple antibiotic resistance in clinically relevant bacteria has created a global crisis with increasing burden on healthcare systems. The need to optimise alternative therapies to antibiotics, particularly in high risk nosocomial settings, is therefore immediate. Bacteriophages are specialised lethal viruses of bacteria, and an underused clinical resource for the treatment of severe infections refractory to antibiotics. Both the gaps in knowledge of bacteriophage biology, particularly the details of host-pathogen dynamic interact...

Sourcing phages for compassionate use

Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon that knows no geographical borders, so addressing this crisis is a worldwide public health priority. While total global resistance rates are difficult to estimate and vary between countries, an international report asserts that the development of new antibacterials is essential to ensuring the future ability to treat bacterial infections1. Bacteriophage (phage) therapy is a likely contributor to resolving potentially devastating effects of antibiotic resistance, yet no phage pro...

Phage research in ‘organ-on-chip’ devices

The use of ‘organ-on-chip' devices in microbiology research presents enormous opportunities for fundamental and translational research14. Yet these approaches have not been widely embraced by the microbiology field. This is particularly evident with bacteriophage (phage) research applications. Traditionally phage research has been an early adopter of experimental techniques and approaches5, having catalysed research in biotechnology,...

Use of bacteriophage for discovery of therapeutically relevant antibodies against infectious diseases

Scientists George P Smith and Gregory Winter were recently awarded half of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing a technology to display exogenous peptides and proteins on the surface of bacteriophage. ‘Phage display' has revolutionised the development of monoclonal antibodies, allowing fully human-derived antibodies to be isolated from large antibody libraries. It has been used for the discovery of many blockbuster drugs, including Humira (adalimumab), the highest selling drug yearly since 2012, with US$18.4b in sales global...

Bacteriophages as biocontrol agents in aquaculture

Aquaculture production (inland and marine) has been increasing globally reaching 80.1 million metric tons in 2016. Simultaneously the utilisation of fish food per capita has also been risen reaching 20.0 kg per year in 2016. However, the growing industry also experiences problems including diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, helminths and parasitic crustaceans on valuable seafood products resulting in economic losses. Antimicrobial agents and chemical control strategies used to control such diseases are creating environment...

Future prospects of structural studies to advance our understanding of phage biology

Bacteriophages, being the most abundant biological entities on the Earth, play a major role in regulating populations of bacteria and thus influence the evolution and stability of ecosystems. Phage infections of pathogenic bacteria can both exacerbate and alleviate the severity of the disease. The structural characterisations of phage particles and individual proteins have enabled the understanding of many aspects of phage biology. Due to methodological limitations, most of the structures were determined from purified samples in vitro. H...

Use of bacteriophages as biological control agents in horticulture

Bacterial diseases in horticultural settings or infestation of fresh produce with human pathogenic bacteria can constitute a serious public health risk. To control horticultural bacterial diseases, chemical control strategies have traditionally been used, such as the application of bactericides and copper-based products, which resulted in development of resistance in bacteria against these agents. Moreover, the use of such chemical preventative measures on fresh produce can detrimentally affect human, animal and ecosystem health. Bacteriophages...

Introduction of the Bacteriophage Biology & Therapeutics SIG

Book review

Volume 40 Number 1

PDF file Download Article

RSS Free subscription to our email Contents Alert. Or register for the free RSS feed.