Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

Phage in the time of cholera

TitlePhage in the time of cholera
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWeitz JS, Hartman H
JournalLancet Infectious Diseases
Date PublishedMAY

Bacteriophage (bacterial viruses) were heralded as revolutionary therapeutic agents soon after the discovery by Félix d’Herelle in 1917 of an “invisible microbe” capable of lysing bacteria.1 Bacteriophage appeared to be effi cient killers of their bacterial hosts— we now know that their life history is far more complex than fi rst assumed2—and so the eff ort to use phage as curatives or prophylaxis spread quickly to research institutes in Europe, North America, and Asia.3 d’Herelle himself spearheaded many of these eff orts, the most famous of which was the initiation of an extensive campaign to use phage in the treatment and prevention of cholera in colonial India. The authors of one such study4 conclude by noting that “the results establish suffi cient probability in favour of a signifi cant eff ect of the administration of bacteriophage to form a basis of practical policy in the treatment and prevention of cholera in villages”.