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Phages - The bacterium's Nemesis!
Although we don't think twice when we are vaccinated with deactivated viruses, it seems to require a leap of faith to entertain the thought of us being treated using bacteriophage therapy, using benign bacteria-destroying viruses. Until we overcome our squeemishness, we must resign ourselves to the relentless onslaught of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With drug companies reluctant to produce new antibiotics, fearing that doctors are now wary of antibiotic resistance, there is now no alternative but to go back to using nature's answer to bacteria, phages.

Georgian Phage Laboratory


Winston Churchill Fellow, Grace Filby FRSA, Science & Engineering Ambassador, has attended international phage lectures, visited phage therapy laboratories in Georgia and Poland and has spoken with many eminent phage scientists and doctors over the last two years.

Being self-taught on the subject of phages, this endows her with the clarity of vision to see the wood from the status quo tree and to be able to express views unencumbered by one's employer's expectations and a looming retirement with a safe pension pot that might disappear should the wrong 'attitude' be struck.

The hard work Grace has put into phage research, in the face of British Government ministerial indifference, buck passing and vested interest by public officials, speaks highly of her determination and will power in endeavouring to publicise the health and money-saving benefits of phage therapy.

Obtaining a Churchill Fellowship too was not easy, and I assume the Churchill Committee do not bestow Fellowships lightly, which makes the rejection of her application for a Wellcome Grant to give talks about her research on phages, and especially for the reasons given in the video clip below, illogical and baffling. The anonymous reviewer might have exposed themselves to possible accusations of unprofessionalism in not being aware of the many peer reviewed papers published on phage therapy, of international phage conferences, of studies by Wroclaw University in Poland on the effectiveness of phages against MRSA at a tenth of the cost of antibiotics, of stirling work done at the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi Georgia and pioneering leg ulcer treatment using phages, in Lubbock, Texas USA etc. etc..

Maybe this anonymous reviewer has no connections with any drug companies and maybe their pension does not depend on them toeing the company line, or perhaps the Wellcome organisation has no vested interest in ensuring that threats to its patented drugs are swatted, but the reasons given for their rejection of Grace's application, especially in the light of being awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to research the health benefits of phage therapy, sound somewhat less than transparent. I leave you to judge.

Viruses vs Superbugs

Grace demonstrates opening up of dental phage vials.

MRSA - Staphylococcus Aureus. No match for phages!

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus,or MRSA, one of the most feared hospital acquired infections stalking our wards today, can be vanquished by using its natural killer, phages. There is a phage virus for every bacterium; it's nature's way of keeping things in balance. Therapy using phages, once the only cure for bacterial infection, is making a come-back; it's back to the future!

Phages are wonderful little viruses which only attack bacteria, leaving animal and plant cells unharmed. Empirical evidence has never shown any harmful effects of phages on the human system. In fact Felix d'Herelle, the reputed dicoverer of phages, himself drank litres of phage broth to demonstrate its harmlessness, prior to administrating it to a young boy dying of dysentry. The boy recovered within a week!

Phages Vs Antibiotics Drug companies are geared to high-tech solutions where something as simple as a phage has no place. The phage also needs to be selected for the specific bacteria found at the wound site, requiring intelligent doctoring and a non-standard approach to medicine. This model fits not at all well with drug company modus operandi and shareholder profit aims.

The inexorable rise in MRSA we are now witnessing, is due to the initial uncontrolled medical use of antibiotics (they were sold over-the-counter in the USA for many years after their genesis), and as growth promoters by a rapacious farming community not heeding the concerns of scientists that bacteria would, not could, develop resistance to antibiotics. Even Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, voiced concerns in the 1930s when he said that if penicillin were to be sold over the counter, people would mis-use it and resistant strains would develop. How true his words now!

When a strain of bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic it really thrives, because most of its neighbours, both malign and benign, have also been wiped out, leaving the field free for it to dominate. Anyone who has ever had loose bowels during a course of antibiotics will know what I mean! MRSA used to mean Methycillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - now it means Multi-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, such is the resistance of the Staph bacteria to a host of antibiotics. Vancomycin, more expensive gram-for-gram than gold, with more serious side effects, used to be the ultimate bacteria killer but, guess what, it too is becoming ineffective. There is now nothing left in reserve!

What can humans do to prevent antibotic resistance? Too late, the Genie is out of the bag and the clock cannot be turned back. Bacteria very quickly now become resistant to everything chemical that is thrown at them. The phage, the natural predator of the bacteria, seems our best solution, which is where the question of pride comes in.

Because phage therapy was initially very empirical and the electron microscope was not invented until the late 1930s, the exact workings of phages was not known. Doctors noticed that patients who survived their illness had phages in their faeces which, when filtered out and given to other sufferers, cured them too of the illnes. What also amazed them was the speed at which phages worked. People on death's doorstep recovered in a few days; a tribute to the speed with which the phage multiplied and overcame its host bacteria.

Phages book by Stephen McGrath

Bacteriophage - The bacteriums' Nemesis!


VIRUSES-Vs-SUPERBUGS by Thomas Hausler.

Phages are back!
Swiss medical author Thomas Hausler has published an excellent book examining the age-old way of treating bacterial infections, before we were blinded by the light of 'antibiotics'.
While antibiotics are synthesised, and can therefore be patented to produce huge revenue streams for the chemical companies, bacteria-killing viruses (bacteriophages, or 'phages' for short) are natural, can not be patented, and are therefore not profitable for chemical company shareholders.

Each year, thousands of people die from bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Alternatives drugs are urgently needed. A surprising ray of hope is actually a blast from the past and they are phages, viruses that kill bacteria, but not us. Unfortunately, the public thinks only of virues as being harmfu, when in fact they can also be our best friends, just as there are bacteria in the body, without which we would not function properly. Phages were discovered independantally by Felix d'Herelle and Fredrick Twort in around 1915, when infections were still a major cause of illness and death. They noted that a 'component' from the faeces of dysentry sufferers, when fed back to patients, produced a remarkable recovery. Chicken farmers have also discovered that if birds which survive a bacterial illnes are introduced back into the main shed, other birds will pick up the phages in their droppings and the whole flock will then recover.

Phage therapy became popular from the 1920s, until the introduction of penicillin 20 years later. Only in the countries of the Eastern block did the therapy survive and thrive. Now western researchers and companies are working on its comeback.

This book tells the fascinating story of the discoverers of phages in the West and the Soviet Union. Award-winning science journalist Thomas Hauslerfollows the trail of one pioneer killed by Stalin's secret service, and his successors in today's Georgia, accompanying patients taking phages because standard drugs fail them and investigates how these long-forgotten cures may help sick people today.

Professor Elizabeth Kutter, Evergreen State College, Olympia, USA
"This book is scientific journalism at its best…the fascinating fruits of a remarkable year-long odyssey in time and space, during which he explores the depths of archives old and new, from the Pasteur Institute to NIH to Los Angeles hospitals, to Tbilisi to German companies. "

Professor T. Hugh Pennington, president of the British Society for General Microbiology '"…paints a vivid and engaging picture of the larger-than-life characters who committed themselves to the development of phage therapy."

'An exceptionally thorough book, extraordinarily well written and scientifically authoritative. A book about an explosive subject that could not have been done better' Spektrum der Wissenschaften German Scientific America

Phages - The Simple Cure


In response to the recent sanctioning by the USA FDA for phages to be used against vegetable diseases, I penned the following ditty. This sums up the blinkered attitude of most regulatory authorities to phages. Phages have been 'field tested' on the population of Georgia for the last 80 years, without side effects and yet are still being ignored as an effective, efficient and most of all, safe killer of bacteria.

While phages are deemed not suitable to help mere people fight MRSA etc., at least it will be of help to the vegetables we eat. Ironically, we will all be consuming phages with our vegetables soon anyway, which must really make the regulators and beurocrats angry!

ODE TO A TOMATO (or in praise of phages)
"I'm glad I'm a tomato for I now have no fear
of nasty bacteria that may come too near.
Those nice humans have decided their priority
and seem to have chosen Mammon over humanity.

Though they die in their thousands,
with the cure in their grasp,
will they realise their folly
before their last gasp?

I'm glad I'm a tomato, though not very bright,
I must be important because for me they do fight.
More important than children and somebody's granny
because I, a tomato, am costing them money.

Though my life is short it will be sweet,
my days on the vine will now be complete.
Unlike, alas, those who only see dollars
or are too stupid to act when the evidence hollers.

So, be you a cow a fruit or some nosh
though ye be different you all look the same
in the eyes of those nice humans,
who just see you as dosh."

(Copyright Michael Jozefiak 2006)
You may use this, with reference to me. Thank you.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact me, Mike Jozefiak, via Email.

Mike Jozefiak
203 Hungate Street
tel: 01263-734990.

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