About this Research Topic
Earlier this year, when a cystic fibrosis patient who had disseminated infection by Mycobacterium abscessus was treated with genetically engineered phages that saved his life, the world again witnessed the therapeutic potential of bacteriophages. In another important case study of 2015, a group of doctors saved the life of a patient with systemic multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii infection using a cocktail of phages.
There are notable cases of success of phage therapy and the therapeutic potential of phages/ phage proteins are getting strengthened. Discovery of potential phages from environmental source for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant pathogens is needed to provide support to medical professionals in the treatment of deadly infections. In spite of establishment of large repositories of phages at a few places in the world, the potential of natural phage diversity has been sparsely explored. It is well appreciated that the gold mine of phages is the environment. The natural richness of bacterial hosts and the kind of phage diversity that evolves in the vast environment can barely be achieved in the lab. It is well appreciated that evolution is the best tool for arriving at the best phage given nature’s selection pressure and phenomenon of survival of the fittest.
Phages are present in abundance in the water such as marine systems as well as freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds. A wide biodiversity of phages has been isolated from soil. Phages are estimated to be present in numbers of 10^9 virion particles in every gram of soil. In one of the rare studies, isolation of bacteriophage from the air has been demonstrated. Apart from natural environments, a rich repertoire of bacteriophages have been isolated from different kinds of wastewater, sewage and waste dumping sites. There is a growing need for newer phage isolates, their functional proteins and novel isolation/detection techniques from different kinds of environmental sources.
This Research Topic invites original research work/ Review/ Mini Review/ Methods/ Perspective/ Policy Brief/ Hypothesis & Theory etc., addressing:
- The challenges in isolation of bacteriophages from various environmental sources;
- Bacteriophages isolated from specific environmental sources;
- Phage-encoded proteins (endolysins)/engineered variants;
- Structure-function relationships and their antimicrobial therapeutic potential;
- Improved methods for on-field sampling, enrichment, detection and scale-up of useful bacteriophages and phage proteins;
- Novel approaches in phage isolation from tougher yet useful environments like air or extreme environments.
Keywords: Bacteriophages, Phage therapy, Endolysins, Environmental phages, Antibacterial agents, Isolation techniques, Sensors
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