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Salutary Contributions of Viruses to Medicine and Public Health

  • Stephen T. Abedon
Chapter

Abstract

Bacteriophages or phages are the viruses of domain Bacteria. Phages played key roles in the development of the fields of molecular biology and ­molecular genetics, plus are essential contributors to bacterial ecology and evolution. A subset of bacteriophages, furthermore, serve as serious public health menaces by encoding bacterial virulence factors. Notwithstanding the latter issue, a substantial fraction of phages are quite safe and phages generally are permissive to genetic manipulation. Consequently, phages may be employed in a number of technologies relevant to medicine and public health. As discussed in this chapter, these technologies include phage use as antibacterial agents (phage therapy); vaccines (both DNA and subunit); selectively cytotoxic complexes, including as anti-cancer agents; gene therapy vectors; bacterial identification and detection agents; and a means of discovery of small-molecule antibacterials. Phages also serve as a source of purified gene ­products for use in numerous tasks including as antibacterial agents (particularly lysins).

Keywords

Phage Display Bacterial Identification Phage Therapy Target Bacterium Phage Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Jason Clark and Chris Cox for the input into those sections citing their work.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyThe Ohio State UniversityMansfieldUSA

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