Bacteriophages: A New (Yet Old) Weapon Against Infections

  • Stephen K. Mathew
  • Reba Kanungo


Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are among the top five leading causes of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. Bacteria are extremely adept at developing mechanisms to survive hostile environments. Bacteriophages are essentially viruses; as obligate parasites, they infect, replicate within and finally lyse the bacterium. Bacteriophages attach to receptors on the bacterial surface via tail fibres or base plate spikes, following which they inject their genome into the cell. Bacteriophages are a potent, natural antibacterial capable of inducing rapid bacterial cell lysis. The author discusses the history of bacteriophages and describes what bacteriophages are, concerns with bacteriophage therapy and its usage in humans and non-humans. While using bacteriophages therapeutically appears promising, care must be taken to ensure that resistance does not develop.


Bacteriophages Phage therapy Antibacterial agents Drug resistance Bacterial infections Soft tissue infections Wound infections 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen K. Mathew
    • 1
    • 2
  • Reba Kanungo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyBelievers Church Medical CollegeThiruvallaIndia
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyPondicherry Institute of Medical SciencesKalapetIndia

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