Antibacterial bioagents based on principles of bacteriophage biology: An overview

Bettina M. Knoll, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Bacteriophages were discovered almost a century ago. With the advent of antibiotics, the use of bacteriophages for treatment of infections fell out of favor in Western medicine. In light of the rise of antibiotic resistance, phages and their products (lysins) are rediscovered as antibacterial bioagents. This overview summarizes principles of phage biology and their translation for therapeutic and preventive applications. Examples are presented to highlight their therapeutic promise for prophylaxis and treatment of bacterial infections including multidrug-resistant organisms in humans and animals, and their use as decontaminants of food supplies and environments. Besides research on the in vivo behavior of phages and lysins, dialogues between researchers and regulatory agencies are necessary to publish guidelines for bacteriophage manufacturing and formulation for human use. Only well-designed, double-blind randomized controlled trials will determine if phages and lysins are safe and effective adjuncts or alternatives to antibiotic therapy for infections with multidrug-resistant organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-534
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2014


  • bacteriophages
  • lysins
  • multidrug-resistant bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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