James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ)


Bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, have numerous applications in the medical, agricultural, and research fields, especially as an alternative to antibiotics in the age of antibiotic resistance. Phages are able to lyse, or break apart, bacterial cells with fewer side effects, more specificity, and less likelihood of resistance than antibiotics. The acceptance of phages in medicine and agriculture around the world today is not universal, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been slow to recognize phage therapy as a legitimate treatment. However, the successful use of phages in the past, as well as promising trial results in fields ranging from chronic disease treatment to food preservation, present opportunities for consideration of phage-based applications in the future. The goal of this paper is to provide an overview of the history, uses, and regulation of phage therapy.