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The antimicrobial potential of bacteriophages


This inquiry is informed by the successful pitch to the Committee’s My Science inquiry. The World Health Organisation has warned that antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today, while the Government’s Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, Dame Sally Davies, has called AMR the ‘silent pandemic’. There has therefore been increased interest in alternative antimicrobials to be used instead of, or in conjunction with antibiotics. One of these alternative antimicrobials is bacteriophages (‘phages’)—viruses which can kill harmful bacteria but not harm humans. Though there are centres for phages research and phage bio banks, their clinical use has been restricted by regulation in the UK and EU to  individual ‘compassionate use’ where antibiotics have failed. This has been seen as inhibiting the potential of phages to address AMR.

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