Friday , March 31 2023

Phagotherapy, the new hope against antibiotic resistance


These are words that doctors and associations hear more often and often. "I have a staphylococcus aureus, there is no solution, I was told to amputate." In France, many patients, infected with a bacterium that has become resistant to antibiotics, are looking for a desperate solution.

It must be said that this global week dedicated to their good use is urgent to find an alternative. By excessive consumption, the duration of hospitalization is prolonged, mortality increases to 5,500 deaths per year in our country. And if nothing is done globally, this phenomenon could lead to the death of 10 million people in 2050.

READ AND>Resistance to antibiotics: "We can not say we have no solution"

So, in this black chart, patients whispered treatment for the last ditch, a miracle for some, phagotherapy. What are we talking about? Beech medicine, natural viruses found everywhere, in soils, lakes, canals, and capable of eating even the toughest bacteria responsible for bone or lung infections.

"In the 1980s, healed thousands of patients"

This technique, which is rediscovered in France, is widespread in Georgia, which has long been deprived of antibiotics in the West, retained this knowledge. "We have 300 patient requests per year," says Alain Lavit, co-manager of a company that organizes this medical tourism in Eastern Europe.

So phagotherapy can save us? Alain Dublanchet, a microbiologist and expert on the subject, is convinced of this. "Before being finally buried in France in the 1980s, in front of the success of antibiotics, he cured thousands of patients. We had phage collections in Pasteur's laboratories, everything was thrown away.

So you have to start over again. In 2016, a French company managed to produce good quality beans, tested in some serious patients, mainly at the Croix-Rousse Hospital in Lyon, in addition to antibiotics. Most have suffered from very severe infections. "Of the five treaties, 4 have no signs of infection," said Tristan Ferry, deputy head of the Infectious Diseases Department. It is a huge success, we are at a turning point in the history of phagotherapy. "

A 6th patient just received this treatment a week ago. "He supported the surgery well," says the doctor who ultimately hopes to cure common urinary infections.

New clinical trials

If these few cases may seem ridiculous, this is because the authorizations are still supplied with a hexagon dropper. Why not export beans from Georgia? According to Caroline Semaille, director of drugs at the drug agency, "we have no way to know their quality." The road is long to develop this therapy at home. We still do not know how to manufacture them on a large scale.

"If this treatment raises many questions, it is full of hope." So we have to continue the research. "As soon as more is done, we announce the director, we will issue temporary authorizations for use."

New clinical trials are going on, a review committee is planned at the beginning of the year. There are other solutions. A company also came up with a technique for perforating the double membrane of the toughest bacteria. Doctors and authorities, all hanging in hopes of removing France from the current therapeutic deadlock.


  • 40 million euros will be dedicated to the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
  • 759 t of antibiotics intended for human health were sold in 2017 and 499 tonnes for animals.
  • France is 4e consumer from Europe on 8e in the world.
  • Just two new antibiotics have been on the market for the last fifty years.
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