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Bacteriophages in the fight against coronavirus

At least 15% of COVID-19 patients suffer from severe form of the disease. We need an efficient therapeutic response to COVID-19 pandemic to save hundreds of thousands of people affected by the novel coronavirus. According to Prof. Andrzej Górski from the PAS Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wrocław, phage therapy might be an effective method of treatment.

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Hundreds of scientists in all parts of the world are working around the clock looking into medicines for COVID-19. Many existing drugs, used to treat variety of ailments, are being trailed against the virus to see if they can be repurposed to treat COVID-19. Of all the drugs being tested, only steroids have shown promising early findings. They can reduce deaths in sickest COVID-19 patients, but one have to remember that steroids also carry a risk of serious side effects.

Useful bacteriophages

Over the past 15 years, the team of Prof. Andrzej Górski from the PAS Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy has been working on the use of phage therapy in the treatment of multiple diseases (such as drug resistant and difficult to treat infections of the skin, bones, respiratory tract, or recently diseases with an autoimmunological basis). Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria but are harmless to humans. The team has demonstrated new possibilities for applying phage therapy in treating also non-bacterial infections (viral and fungal). "There is evidence to suggest that phages may also be useful in combating viral infections, including, probably COVID-19," emphasize the researchers in a recent paper published in the international scientific journal Future Microbiology.

Prof. Andrzej Górski heads the Phage Therapy Center in Wrocław at the PAS Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy. The Center is the first and still the only phage therapy research center in the entire European Union offering "tailored" phage treatment to patients with chronic bacterial infections, for which antibiotic treatments proved unsuccessful. Professor Górski specializes in internal diseases and clinical immunology. This year, he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his medical and scientific work.

For full details, see the following article "Phages in the fight against COVID-19?" in Future Microbiology

Source of information: Polish Academy of Sciences