A place to discuss science, share work, and find mentors and collaborators
Australia’s The Project showcases new Phage Australia work on a new children’s CF clinical trial using phages.
The 4th International Conference on Bacteriophage Research and Antimicrobial Resistance is hosting ”Phages for Life”, a hybrid conference from Sept 28-30 in Chennai, India and online, with the theme of “Harnessing bacteriophages for human well-being”.
Phage Bites is back! The Bacteriophage Biology & Therapeutics (BBT) SIG is hosting their second symposium Sept 26 featuring brief presentations from postgraduate students on phage-related topics, followed by an expert panel discussion on “Standardisation in phage therapy.”
Phables, a new computational method developed by Vijini Mallawaarachchi and colleagues, resolves phage genomes from fragmented viral metagenome assemblies, enabling the recovery of over 49% more high-quality phage genomes compared to existing tools.
Jingxian Yang and colleagues have discovered that agr (quorum sensing) induction reduces expression of tarM (which encodes a glycosyltransferase responsible for modification of the major S. aureus phage receptor). This allows lytic phage Stab20 to infect and kill S. aureus, shedding light on the cross-species communication impacting phage susceptibility in S. aureus.
Benjamin Adler and colleagues have developed a broad-spectrum phage functional genomics platform using programmable RNA-binding protein dRfxCas13d, uncovering hidden infection strategies and predicting over 90 essential genes in phage genomes.
Contrafect, a company developing ‘direct lytic agents’ (which include lysins and amurin peptides), has submitted an IND application for preliminary approval of a new IV antibacterial agent for treatment of hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia.
Parallel Health, a new US phage skincare company, has announced $2.3M in funding and launched a custom phage therapy skin serum that targets bacteria causing skin conditions, offering personalized treatments based on individual skin microbiome analysis.
Katelyn McNair, the creator of Phanotate, has introduced a new tool called Genotate, designed to identify and predict coding genes in phage genomes.
Now in final stages of development, it’s built to take your phage genome annotation and analysis to the next level. They’re looking for dedicated volunteers who are passionate about phage genomics and annotation to help test and refine Genotate.
Contact Katelyn to get involved!
Did you know that VoM is heading down under? The Viruses of Microbes (VoM) Conference will take place in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, July 15-19th, 2024.
Justin Leavitt (University of Utah) and colleagues report that the P22-encoded SieA protein is the only phage protein required for exclusion by the SieA system, blocking DNA injection by P22 and its relatives, but having no effect on infection by other tailed phage types.
Pedro Leao (University of Texas, Austin) and colleagues have determined that the Asgardarchaeota, a group of archaea related to eukaryotes, played important roles in the evolution of viral protection in eukaryotes.
Erin Attrill (University of Exeter) and colleagues found that slow-growing E. coli cells survive phage T4 in isolation, but fast-growing cells survive when surrounded by their clonal kin cells.
A new Canadian phage CRO, Qeen Bio is offering a variety of services including phage characterization, cell banking, fermentation, downstream processing, formulation, lab services for phage clinical trials, and regulatory consulting for phage products.
Intralytix has announced the launch of a Phase 1/2a clinical trial of its VRELysin™ phage preparation to assess safety and efficacy in healthy and VRE-colonized subjects at UPMC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Interested in graduate microbiome research at Penn State University? Register today for @PSUmBiome Graduate Studies Open House Oct 12th, 6-7 PM ET.
Medical-grade phage is now available for expanded access through Tolka.ai’s waitlist, after a year of hard work by Johan Wikstrom, Keqing Li, Thomas Hunt, Volodymyr Kulchytskyi, and the broader phage community; phage researchers can learn more at tolka.ai/expandedaccess.
Mini challenge for an interested phage lab! If you were sent a Pioreactor (mini bioreactor that lets you grow, monitor & control your cultures), would you be keen to test its ability to produce phages & blog about the result? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
Phage researcher Pranav Johri discusses phage therapy and antimicrobial resistance in India in a recent article in The Microbiologist
Jens Hör (Weizmann Institute of Science) and colleagues have discovered that bacteria conjugate ubiquitin-like proteins to interfere with phage assembly.
Eray Enustun (UCSD) and colleagues have used proximity labeling and localization mapping to systematically map out the protein interaction network of the ‘phage nucleus’ made by jumbo phages.
Cytophage Technologies has announced a distribution agreement with a leading animal health company in South Asia. The initial product for distribution will be Cytophage’s FARMPHAGE (TM) formulation for the poultry industry.
Congrats to Vivek Mutalik and colleagues, who have received funding from the BRaVE initiative (US Dept of Energy) to expand their Phage Foundry, a platform for phage countermeasures against AMR pathogens.
In a new episode of Phagecast, the hosts speak with Ben Burrowes, CEO of BB Phage Consultancy, known for his work on phage training, A.K.A. the Appleman´s protocol.
Antibiotics journal is inviting submissions for a special issue on “Phages and Their Derived Products as Novel Strategies to Combat Bacterial Infections”, with submission deadline on 31 Dec 2023.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics is combating antibiotic resistance with phage therapy in a new film, Race Against Resistance debuting September 5, as they take viewers on a phage hunt through the zoo to find out where phages come from.
The Computational Phage Genomics Programme 2023 at the University of Copenhagen runs in-person Oct 27 - Nov 3, offering hands-on experience analysing phage genome sequencing data, from raw NGS reads to a fully assembled and annotated phage genome. The course includes lectures and computer exercises.
The 4th International Conference on Bacteriophage Research and Antimicrobial Resistance is hosting ”Phages for Life”, a hybrid conference from Sept 28-30 in Chennai, India and online, with the theme of “Harnessing bacteriophages for human well-being”. Submit your abstract here!
Hans Carlson (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) and colleagues found that phages most influence terrestrial microbial functional ecology in hot spots and ‘hot moments’ such as metazoan guts, drought influenced soils, or biofilms where ion concentration is locally or transiently elevated and nutrients are available.
Katherine Wetzel and colleagues found that trehalose polyphleates (large surface-exposed glycolipids) are required for infection of Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium smegmatis by clinically useful phages BPs and Muddy.
Sofia Dahlman (Monash University, Australia) and colleagues characterized 125 active prophages from 252 human gut bacterial isolates, revealing that temperate gut phages are prevalent, diverse, and predominantly inactive.
Jean-Paul Pirnay at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital and colleagues published a new preprint on their center’s first 100 cases of personalized phage therapy. They report clinical improvement in 77% of cases, and eradication of the target bacteria in 61.3%.
Franklin Nobrega’s phage team at the University of Southampton, UK have created KlebPhaCol, an open-source collection of 52 Klebsiella phages and 61 clinical strains with associated data, which is now available for scientists to request and contribute to.
BBC StoryWorks is releasing a documentary titled “Race Against Resistance: The Life And Death Struggle To Save Antibiotics”, which focuses on the global race against antimicrobial resistance. The documentary features patients, doctors, scientists, and experts working to ensure we have the medicines we need now and in the future.
Le Temps newspaper in Switzerland featured phage therapy for antimicrobial resistance on its front page.
Zimbabwean biomedical researcher Rutendo Kahari was featured in Forbes. She aims to use phages to fight tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, with a focus on addressing health equity across Africa.
A preprint by Natalia Quinones-Olvera and colleagues reports that diverse and abundant viruses exploit conjugative plasmids.
Susanne Meile, Jiemin Du (ETH Zurich) and colleagues have published a new paper on engineered reporter phages for detection of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, and Klebsiella in urine.
Melissa Su Juan Chee (National University of Singapore) and colleagues have uncovered a new process of gene transfer in Staphylococcus aureus mediated by staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) that can mobilize and transfer two pathogenicity islands in a single particle, highlighting previously unknown roles of pathogenicity islands in bacterial virulence.
I am a Ph.D. graduate in Phage Biology and Therapy seeking a postdoctoral position in phage research. My research expertise lies in the pre-clinical assessment of phages with a focus on phage therapy. I have valuable experience from working as a graduate research fellow at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NIH, and have authored scientific articles. I am passionate about exploring novel phage-based therapeutic approaches, including phage-host interaction. I am eager to collaborate and contribute to phage research.
Sincerely, Gunaraj Dhungana, Ph.D. in Phage Biology and Therapy
Check out iPHoP, a new program that combines and evaluates predictions to reliably match phages with their archaea and bacteria hosts.
In a new preprint, Rubén Barcia-Cruz (Sorbonne Université) and colleagues describe a new family of satellites called PICMI associated with marine virulent phages.
Jiemin Du, Susanne Meile (ETH Zurich) and colleagues have engineered phages to produce and release antimicrobial effectors, creating a promising alternative to conventional antibiotics for UTIs.
In a new article in Nature Reviews Microbiology, Héloïse Georjon & Aude Bernheim explore the diverse antiphage defense systems of bacteria, including nucleases, helicases, and proteases.
US Representative Morgan Griffith recently discussed the potential of phage therapy to combat antimicrobial resistance at the April 28, 2023 U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations meeting.
Hello, I’m working on my bachelor’s thesis and I need specific information about phage and bacterial genetics. Do you know or could you help me find sources, if it is possible for bacteria to acquire and use phage genes for their own benefit after they neutralise phage infection (through CRISPR/CAS for example)? I don’t mean lysogeny, pseudo-lysogeny, or phage fragment storage for “bacterial immunity” but something like horizontal gene transfer from degraded phage DNA to the bacterial genome. Do you know any papers that discuss this topic? Email: email@example.com
Developing Scientific Guidelines for Phage Banks
The next meeting for this project will be held on August 6th at Evergreen State College and will be accessible online. We will continue to brainstorm about the topics that should be covered in the phage bank guidelines.
The meeting will run from 1:15 - 5:00 PM (PDT). For those attending in-person, lunch will be provided and will be available from 12:15 - 1:15 PM (PDT).
If you would like to attend (either in-person or virtually), please confirm this by emailing Fran Hodges (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 2nd.
Tobi & Fran
Phage researchers can now access PhageBox, an open-source digital microfluidic extension that integrates temperature and electromagnetic modules, which can be used for phage research, as recently demonstrated by Dreycey Albin (University of Colorado) and colleagues.
Phynteny, a synteny-based annotation tool for phage genes, has been developed by @susiegriggo_ to assign hypothetical phage proteins to a PHROG category based on gene order conservation.
A new preprint by Martin Plymouth, Stephanie Lynch and colleagues investigates the attitudes of Australian infectious diseases physicians towards phage therapy.
The Ohio State University and IPATH were awarded $175k from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation to address AMR through phage therapy, with students in OSU’s Science Education Alliance-LAB undergraduate program isolating and characterizing phages, and adding them to IPATH’s and SEA-LAB’s phage libraries for clinical or research purposes.
The first NIH-funded phage therapy clinical trial has successfully enrolled the first six patients in Stage 1 for safety and microbiological activity, with no serious adverse events reported, and is now moving into Stage 2a, aiming to enroll 32 subjects across four study arms.
Are you a phage enthusiast looking to isolate your own phage? Check out this beginner-friendly guide by Raphael Hans Lwesya for tips and tricks!
Meghan Rose McGillin (Cornell University) has written a post on key insights from ASM Microbe 2023, with a focus on how much phage work was presented. She highlights new developments in phage therapy, including breakthroughs targeting B. cepacia and using cocktails to treat catheter-associated UTIs, as well as insights from APT’s CEO on phage therapy commercialization.
Thilo Köhler (Geneva University Hospitals) and colleagues report successful treatment of a 41-year-old patient with a P. aeruginosa infection using aerosolized phage therapy. They followed evolution of phage and bacteria in respiratory samples during treatment, showing phage replication and a clonal but phenotypically diverse population of hypermutator strains.
Tejas Dharmaraj (Stanford University School of Medicine) and colleagues describe the use of dynamic light scattering to measure changes in phage physical state, finding that phages tend to decay and form aggregates, and that degree of aggregation can be used to predict phage bioactivity.
NHS Tayside‘s orthopaedic department has successfully treated a joint infection using phage therapy, the first time phage therapy has been used in the UK to treat a bone/joint infection.
The Phage Australia team at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research has been awarded $3.5 million by the NSW Government to address the phage manufacturing bottleneck for phage therapy patients.
Life Science Network, Denmark interviewed Dr. Michela Gambino about her career from culture and natural heritage conservation to phage microbiology.
PhageEurope (Phage EU) is a new coalition of likeminded stakeholders who represent phages in industry, the scientific community and civil society who wants to realize the full potential of phages in Europe. They are holding a webinar 11 July at 16:00 CET on ‘Getting phages into the EU market: challenges, experiences and current outlook.’
BSVoM Symposium, Belgium is hosting a phage research symposum on September 8, 2023 in Liège (Belgium). Topics will cover: fundamental research in phage ecology, fundamental research in phage biology, and present and future applications of phages.
This week the PhageCast podcast interviewed Rob Lavigne about his phage work, including P. aeruginosa phage dark matter, the Igy peptide, and the significance of RNA sequencing.
Phage therapy was covered in ‘Grow by Ginkgo’ magazine’s Scale issue; well-researched piece with a great narrative! Good one to share with public audiences, and highlights that the synthetic biology / biomanufacturing community is starting to take phage therapy more seriously.
Designer phages by Eligo Bioscience have been highlighted by the World Economic Forum as a key transformative force for the coming years, coincidentally on World Microbiome Day.
Krista Freeman (University of Pittsburgh) and colleagues have found that several mycobacteriophages have O-linked glycans, mediated by phage-encoded glycosyltransferases, which can alter antibody binding and recognition.
Matthias Fischer (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research) and colleagues have discovered a stunning structural diversity of giant virus-like particles in forest soil, including giant icosahedral capsids with structural modifications not previously described, including tubular appendages, modified vertices, and multi-layer capsids.
Tom Ireland’s new book The Good Virus explores the potential of phages as the future of medicine, including their ability to target tumours with cancer drugs and fight antibiotic-resistant infections.
PhageLab’s CTO, Pablo Cifuentes Palma, was interviewed by the BBC’s Jane Chambers on “The Coolest Science in the World” segment of the Unexpected Elements podcast about PhageLab’s work with phages (starts at the 29:55 minute mark).
The journal ‘PHAGE: Therapy, Applications, and Research’ has achieved its first impact factor of 2.7. The journal offers immediate deposit to PubMed, a zero-embargo Green Open Access policy, and free 30-day access to share your research with networks and colleagues.
The Sullivan lab is hosting the 2023 Viromics Workshop October 11-13, 2023, in-person at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. You can expect deep dives on virus identification, virus taxonomy/classification, databases, ecogenomics pipeline, auxiliary metabolic gene analysis, virus-host linkages, and genome annotation.
ISVM General Assembly Meeting is taking place during the Viruses of Microbes conference in Tbilisi, Georgia from 17h30-18h30 on Tuesday, July 4th. This is a great opportunity to get to know the Executive Board, make suggestions and hear what ISVM has planned for the upcoming year!
Naomi Haddock (Stanford University, USA) and colleagues have developed a pipeline to identify phages and their bacterial hosts in cell-free DNA from plasma samples, enabling identification of bacterial pathogens associated with sepsis.
David Helekal (University of Warwick, UK) and colleagues have published a new model to estimate AMR fitness cost and benefit. They found that two unrelated Neisseria gonorrhoeae lineages resistant to fluoroquinolones shared similar epidemic dynamics and resistance parameters.
Ming Hu (Qingdao University, China) and colleagues have isolated and characterized two novel, highly pH- and temperature-stable jumbo phages and found they have strong potential to eliminate Klebsiella pneumoniae in sewage water.
Anisha Thanki (University of Leicester, UK) and colleagues have shown that a phage cocktail delivered in chicken feed significantly reduced Salmonella colonization in experimentally-challenged broiler chickens.
Mariam Taha (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute) and colleagues have published a study on the efficacy of lytic phages combined with vancomycin against S. aureus biofilm-like aggregates in synovial fluid, offering a promising strategy against periprosthetic joint infections.
UCSD PREPARE is hosting a phage seminar ‘From Bog to Bedside’ with Steffanie Strathdee on June 29, 2023 at 1:30 pm PT.
Phage Germany is an initiative that aims to promote awareness and adoption of phage therapy, emphasizing the need to educate doctors and pharmacists to improve patient outcomes and combat AMR.
The 4th International Conference on Bacteriophage Research and Antimicrobial Resistance, organized jointly by the CAS in Botany, University of Madras, and Water and Steam Chemistry Division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Facilities, will take place from September 28-30.
With the theme of “Harnessing the Bacteriophages for Human Well-being,” this conference aims to bring together scientists from around the world to discuss the latest findings in bacteriophage research and their potential applications in medicine, agriculture, and environmental science.
Lene Bens (KU Leuven, Belgium) and colleagues published a perspective on phage therapy for Hidradenitis Suppurativa, highlighting the unique challenge and opportunity for personalized treatment of a complex, inflammatory disease.
Maria Villalba (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and colleagues describe in PNAS their new optical nanomotion method to test single-bacterium viability and antibiotic response in 1-2 hours using a basic microscope, a camera/mobile phone, and dedicated software.
Elliot Macdonald and colleagues at Newcastle University have identified a new anti-phage system called Shield, found in Pseudomonas, made of a core component ShdA and a membrane-bound protein with an RmuC domain, which provides a new mechanism of protection, revealing a role for RmuC domains in phage defense.
A new paper published in Microbiology Spectrum by Magdalena Unterer (Helmholtz Centre Munich) describes a high-throughput method for identifying and characterizing phages for phage therapy, revealing cell-to-cell variations in phage kinetics and shedding light on unknown phage-bacterium interactions at the single-cell level.
University of Toronto has received a $5 million dollar gift to start a phage therapy center in Canada, to be led by infectious disease microbiologist Greg German MD, PhD. It will include creation of a professorship in phage therapy research and innovation, $1.25 M to expand the Felix d’Herelle Center’s phage library, and a phage therapy research accelerator fund.
The special edition of “Microorganisms” titled “The Phage: Biology and Therapeutic Use” is open. Guest editors David Harper and Richard James invite you to submit by July 31, 2023.
Phage Therapy Today released a podcast featuring Dr. Frenk Smrekar, founder and CEO at JAFRAL, discussing the importance of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in phage therapy.
Dear phage researchers,
You’re invited to participate in a new initiative to draft guidelines for managing phage banks, led by Tobi Nagel (Phages for Global Health) and Francesca Hodges (Innovate UK KTN).
Stage 1 (online survey: OPEN NOW): Define topics to include
Stage 2 (online survey): Gather input on each topic
Stage 3 (in-person & virtual discussions): Discuss responses, differing opinions
- Sunday, July 2nd in Tbilisi, Georgia (just before VoM 2023
- Sunday, August 6th in Olympia, Washington, USA (just before Evergreen)
Stage 4: Draft guidelines for publication (in a journal and at a conference)
Please fill out the survey for Stage 1 (10-15 min)
The Evergreen International Phage Meeting is happening Aug 6-11, 2023, live in Olympia, Washington, USA! This is an in-person meeting, better known as Phage Camp! Come present your phage work, climb mountains with other phage scientists, play phage-related board games, see a special showing of the Salt in My Soul documentary, and much more! This is the 50th anniversary meeting, hosted by Betty Kutter, Queen of Phage.
Abstracts due June 20!
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic, progressive liver disease. Masataka Ichikawa (Keio University, Japan) and colleagues from BiomX have shown in a new paper that oral and oral+IV administration of a phage cocktail supresses K. pneumoniae levels and attenuates PSC disease severity in mice.
PhageLab is a Chile-based AI-powered phage biotech company selling phage biocontrol to livestock producers. Their technology is a deep epidemiological analysis algorithm that identifies phages to match target bacteria, based on unique data sources from large industrial bacteria repositories and their own phage collection.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics has received $12 million from Deerfield Management and the AMR Action Fund as part of a new $24 million investment.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with the Israeli Phage Therapy Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center. The agreement grants APT exclusive rights to make, use, and sell licensed phages for human therapy.
The Evergreen Phage Meeting organizing committee invite you to take part in a photo contest and get a chance to win awesome phage swag! Send us your favorite photo featuring or taken with Betty Kutter, and let’s shower her with love at the 25th Biennial Evergreen International Phage Meeting, where your photo will be showcased in a special slide show to honor the Queen of Phage. Dig through your vintage photo album or browse your digital files - we’re excited to see the amazing moments you’ve captured! Good luck! Submit photos to email@example.com.
This week Phagecast published a new episode featuring an interview with Martin Loessner! You can hear very valuable insights in what is important to have a successful scientific career together with some phage science: how L-forms become resistant to phages & endolysins, and the implications that this has in phage therapy and endolysin research. Enjoy!
Attention all phage researchers! You’re invited to participate in an exciting initiative to help establish draft phage bank management guidelines for the community.
The process will unfold in stages:
Stage 1 (online survey, stay tuned — coming soon): Help define what topics should be included in the guidelines
Stage 2 (online survey): Collect detailed input on each of the topics identified in Stage 1
Stage 3 (in-person meetings): Please note that we have now added a second meeting in July, in addition to the first meeting in August - feel free to attend either or both
- July 2nd (day before VoM 2023 in Georgia): Discuss compiled responses to online surveys, especially on topics for which there are differing opinions. Virtual options will be available for remote attendees.
- August 6th (day before Evergreen in USA): This will be a second iteration of the July 2nd meeting, taking into account group opinions that have evolved. Virtual options will be available for remote attendees.
A limited number of scholarships will be available for those from lower- and middle-income countries who wish to attend this meeting. Please email Ria Kaelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tobi Nagel (email@example.com) if you would like to apply for a scholarship.
Stage 4 (virtual discussions): Engage in virtual discussions to draft and finalize guidelines. Leaders will develop drafts for each topic and hold virtual meetings. Compiled draft will be shared with the group, and a final version will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at VoM 2024.
To get started, please register your interest by completing this pre-questionnaire.
For questions or suggestions, please email:
Emma George and colleagues have discovered a highly complex community of endosymbionts and a phage within a single cryptomonad cell, which is a model for organelle evolution. The Cryptomonas cell is an endosymbiotic conglomeration with seven distinct evolving genomes that all show evidence of inter-lineage conflict but nevertheless remain stable, even after more than 4,000 generations in culture.
Agnès Oromí-Bosch and colleagues published a new report on phage resistance-related challenges associated with phage therapy. They review two main strategies for mitigating resistance in phage therapy: 1) smartly identify/design the phages that are administered; 2) use phages that drive evolutionary trade-offs (in bacteria) that are biomedically desirable. Twitter thread by coauthor Jyot Antani here
Due to technical limitations, most gut microbiome studies have focused on prokaryotes, overlooking viruses. Yishay Pinto and colleagues have published a new paper on Phanta: a new method for quickly and simply identifying and quantifying phages in metagenomic samples.
Sabrina Green and colleagues published a retrospective observational study of 12 cases of expanded access customized phage therapy. They found that customized phage production and therapy was safe and yielded favorable clinical or microbiological outcomes in 2/3 of cases. They suggest that a center dedicated to tailoring the phages against a patient’s specific infection may be a viable option.
The UK phage biotech company, Fixed Phage, has appointed Dr Neil Clelland as its new CEO, along with a new COO and Executive Chairman. The company is looking to build on its position in the phage industry and provide innovative solutions for human and animal health.
The Evergreen International Phage Meeting is happening Aug 6-11, 2023, live in Olympia, Washington, USA! This is an in-person meeting, better known as Phage Camp! Come present your phage work, climb mountains with other phage scientists, play phage-related board games, see a special showing of the Salt in My Soul documentary, and much more! This is the 50th anniversary meeting, hosted by Betty Kutter, Queen of Phage.
Oral abstracts due June 9!
Attention all phage researchers! You’re invited to participate in an exciting initiative to help establish draft phage bank management guidelines for the community.
To get started, please register your interest by completing this pre-questionnaire.
The process will unfold in stages:
Stage 1 (online survey): Gather input from phage experts worldwide on the key topics. Compiled responses shared with participants for input.
Stage 2 (online survey): Collect input, engage leaders to generate specific questions. Compiled responses shared again, highlighting topics with differing opinions.
Stage 3 (in-person meeting): Join in-person July 2nd (day before VoM 2023 in Georgia), to discuss compiled responses. Virtual options available for remote attendees.
Stage 4 (virtual discussions): Engage in virtual discussions to draft and finalize guidelines. Leaders develop drafts for each topic, hold virtual meetings. Compiled draft shared with group; final version published in a peer-reviewed journal, presented at VoM 2024.
Register your interest now and stay tuned for the first survey.
Tanita Wein and colleagues have published a new preprint on caspase recruitment domains (CARDs), which play a crucial role in inflammasome activity and pyroptosis. They found that CARD-like domains are present in phage defense systems, and also identified a phage protein with a CARD-like structure.
In the arms race between bacteria and phages, some large-genome jumbo phages have evolved a protein shell that encloses their replicating genome. In a new preprint, Eray Enustun and colleagues have used proximity labeling to identify a ‘phage nucleus protein interaction network’, including 6 uncharacterized nuclear shell-associated proteins.
In a new preprint, Ritam Das and colleagues have systematically characterized the genomic characteristics, lifestyle, and potential therapeutic applications of ten B1 sub-cluster mycobacteriophages. They predicted the function of 55% of the 77 representative proteins (previously deemed hypothetical), and found these phages to be temperate, among a multitude of other findings.
Fixed Phage has shown that their technology, which stably immobilizes phages to excipients, can efficiently treat acne when immobilized onto nylon beads and delivered through a cream, reducing the bacterial load on the skin.
A new phage therapy company has launched! Phiogen is a spinoff from Baylor College of Medicine, located at Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Hub. Based on TAILOR Labs’ phage therapy work, and building on patented technology for evolving phages, it is led by Amanda Burkardt and Anthony Maresso.
Sophie Elizabeth Smith via Twitter: Hey is there anyone else going solo to @vom2023 who might want to spend some time exploring Tbilisi with me the week before or after?
Hi there, I am from a lab in National University of Singapore that is looking to see if anyone has any phage strains that are able to combat/infect MRSA? Thanks! Kind regards, Brian Chan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ana Georgina Cobián Güemes and colleagues published a preprint highlighting the potential of jumbo phages in combating Pseudomonas recently associated with the eyedrop outbreak that led to three deaths this year.
NL Haddock and colleagues published a preprint demonstrating that phage populations in infected bodily fluids mirror the abundance and diversity of bacterial pathogens, suggesting a close relationship between phages and bacteria at sites of infection.
Temperate phages drive bacterial genome evolution and impact human health. In a new paper, Justin Silpe and colleagues explore interprophage competition during polylysogeny, shedding light on induction mechanisms and strategies.
Aleksandra Petrovic Fabijan and colleagues have written a perspective piece on translating phage therapy into the clinic. They delve into the history, turning points, recent studies and successes, and dig into the remaining biological, regulatory, and economic challenges to its implementation and acceptance.
Phage utility against Burkholderia cepacia complex species has been restricted by the prevailing paradigm of only using rare, obligately lytic phages, due to the perception that lysogenic phages are therapeutically unsuitable. Philip Lauman and Jonathan Dennis here show that many lysogenization-capable phages exhibit powerful in vitro antibacterial activity both alone and through synergy with other phages.
The Leicester Centre for Phage Research celebrated its grand opening/official launch this week!
Tune in to Science Friday for an interview with Graham Hatfull about phage therapy: “Are Phages a new page in medicine?”
Oluwasegun Daramola of the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team was interviewed an episode of the Medlab LabCast called Phage Therapy: The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend.
BSVoM is hosting a webinar as part of the My Hero and Me webinar series, entitled “From phage components to antimicrobials.”
The Africa Phage Forum is organizing a webinar on the tail spike protein diversity of Ackermannviridae phages: From Theory to Practice. Dr. Anders Nørgaard Sørensen, a Post-Doc Researcher at the University of Copenhagen, will be the guest speaker.
Copenhagen-based SNIPR Biome, a CARB-X portfolio company, has developed SNIPR001, a cocktail of CRISPR-armed phages designed to target E. coli. A recent release by Robin Berghaus of CARB-X highlights the potential of SNIPR001 to prevent bloodstream infections in cancer patients without disrupting their microbiomes.
A recent preprint by Michele Mutti and colleagues reveals that phage activity against Staphylococcus aureus is severely impaired in plasma and synovial fluid. Coagulation factors binding to the bacteria form clots that protect them from phages, posing fundamental challenges for phage therapy in S. aureus infections.
David Wishart and colleagues have introduced PHASTEST (PHAge Search Tool with Enhanced Sequence Translation) as a faster and more accurate web server for annotating prophage sequences and bacterial genomes. In standardized tests, PHASTEST outperformed PHASTER, processing a typical bacterial genome in 3.2 minutes and offering improved whole genome annotations and enhanced visualization capabilities.
Denish Piya and colleagues published a preprint on genome-wide CRISPRi knockdown to map essential elements across whole phage-host genome combinations at once. Their results recapitulate the essential genes determined from decades of analysis for phage lambda, and give new insights into essential genes for phage P1. Twitter thread by Vivek Mutalik.
Jagdev Singh and colleagues published a clinical trial announcement that will involve a single-arm, open-labelled study investigating the safety and tolerability of intrabronchial and nebulized phage treatment in children with cystic fibrosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Congratulations to Evelien Adriaenssens, who has passed her tenure review and become a permanent group leader at The Quadram Institute! Evelien has supported/driven so many phage community efforts over the years. She’s taught us all about how to name and classify our phages & annotate their genomes (watched by almost 2000 of you!), and given feedback on almost every crazy idea we’ve had. (We probably wouldn’t still be doing this whole Phage Directory thing without her!)
Here’s her tweet — let’s all spam her with congratulatory messages!
Introducing PhageCast, a new podcast that brings you news and interviews covering the exciting world of phages. Hosted by a group of PhD students (David, Maria and Alexandre) from the Azeredo Lab (read about their story, published last week in C&T!), this podcast is a great new resource for staying up-to-date with the field!
Phages for Global Health is currently hosting a workshop in Southeast Asia in collaboration with the UST BEATS Research Group (run by Donna May Papa) in the Philippines. Phage scientists from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia are working together to get trained in phage biology. Check out their Facebook group, where they’re updating with workshop pictures daily!
Pulmonary infections caused by Mycobacterium abscessus have been increasing. This study by Mylene Gorzynski and colleagues deepens our understanding of phage–mycobacteria interaction mechanisms and identifies therapeutic phages that can lower bacterial fitness by impairing an antibiotic efflux.
A new ISME Journal article by Xiang Tang and colleagues shows lysogenic phages with arsM-bearing markers help bacterial communities adapt to trivalent arsenic toxicity. The phage-host interaction enabled the quick spread of arsM among soil microbiota, which improved the community’s arsenic methylation capability.
This paper by Samuel Barnett and Daniel Buckley explores the role of soil viruses in the carbon cycle. They added 13C-labelled carbon sources to soil and used metagenomic-SIP to detect 13C assimilation by viruses and their putative hosts. They found that the viral shunt promotes microbial turnover in soil following new C inputs, altering microbial community dynamics and facilitating soil organic matter production.
Phables is a new method to resolve phage genomes from fragmented viral metagenomic assemblies. This article by Vijini Mallawaarachchi and colleagues shows how Phables identifies phage-like components, models each component, and identifies genomic paths (>80% of genomes resolved by Phables are longer than the individual contigs identified by existing tools).
“Resistant bacteria do a lot of taking…” The Center for Disease Control published Diane Shader Smith’s story of her daughter Mallory’s battle against a superbug, how phage therapy could have saved her life, and why more people need to share their personal AMR stories to help put a face to these issues.
Evelien Adriaenssens wrote a piece for The Conversation on how thousands of phages (most of them unknown!) have been found in baby poo! The original study was done by a collaborative team from Denmark, Canada and France. And they even made an interactive version called the “atlas of infant gut DNA virus diversity”, and named the unknown virus families (200+) after the babies!
Our volunteer Atif Khan was selected for the FEMS #OnThisDay volunteer team. The #OnThisDayteam aims to assemble a collection of historically important microbiology events for every single day of the year. These events could be interesting discoveries, the dates of seminal scientific publications, the important moments in the lives of famous microbiologists, or anything that would pique the interest of the microbiology community! Great job Atif!
The 2023 Symposium on New Concepts in Prokaryotic Virus-host Interactions (October 2-4, 2023) will bring together researchers studying new concepts and mechanisms in phage biology, with topics including viral cell biology, anti-viral defenses, and viral impact on microbial communities.
From Sabrina Green via Twitter: Check out this documentary on #phage therapy in Belgium and Portugal. It is in Portuguese but interviews mostly in English.
Kids Research (part of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network) is hosting a webinar on May 19, 2023 at 2:00 PM AEST on phage therapy entitled “Phage Therapy in Australia: STAMPing out problematic infections”. The webinar will be presented by Phage Australia and local experts, including Ameneh Khatami, Jon Iredell, Stephanie Lynch, Tony Lai, Kylie Sangalang, Rachael Sloane, and will cover the science behind phage therapy, clinical eligibility, and practical nursing perspectives.
The Phage Therapy Today podcast interviewed Johan Wikstroem, the CEO of tolka.ai, about his story in transitioning from tech to biotech and founding a phage therapy company with the goal of treating his own M. abscessus infection and helping others with similar conditions. In the episode “The Ultimate Precision Medicine Story,” Wikstroem discusses the challenges and successes in his journey.
Matthew C Johnson and colleagues have shown that Pseudomonas aeruginosa exhibits the greatest diversity of anti-phage systems among 30 species. They identified two core defense hotspot loci (cDHS1 and cDHS2) where many anti-phage immune systems are encoded. These regions could simplify immune system discovery and represent popular landing spots for mobile genetic elements carrying anti-phage systems.
Y. Emre Gencay and colleagues have developed engineered phages with CRISPR-Cas machinery to reduce E. coli in mice. The phages, called SNIPR001, were well tolerated in mouse models and minipigs, and out-competed their ancestral wild-type phages in coculture experiments. SNIPR001 is in clinical development and may benefit hematological cancer patients.
This article by Mart Krupovic and colleagues discusses the origin of the eukaryotic cell and the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA). They reconstructed the LECA virus repertoire and found that the origin of the LECA virome can be traced back to a small set of phages.
Toronto clinician Dr. Greg German: reports the first research use of a phage cocktail to treat an infection in Canada!
In this podcast, Dr. Jeremy Barr from Monash University and Phage Australia talks about his research on using phages to restore antimicrobial sensitivity in Acinetobacter baumannii.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is organizing a Focus Group meeting on 11 May 2023 to discuss the draft guideline on the quality, safety, and efficacy requirements for bacteriophage therapy in veterinary medicines. The aim is to establish a suitable regulatory framework for these innovative therapies and reduce the use of antibiotics.
The UK Phage Innovation Showcase will take place May 16th, 2023 from 9:30am-4pm in Leicester and online. The event is organized by Innovate UK KTN’s Phage Innovation Network and the University of Leicester’s recently launched Centre for Phage Research. This event celebrates its launch and showcases the knowledge and experience in phage research and development in the UK.
All in-person spaces have now been filled, but you can still sign up to watch the livestream of the keynote speeches and Q&A sessions on the day.
In this review, Juan Carlos García-Cruz and colleagues discuss multiple potential applications for phages beyond classical phage therapy, including cattle raising, agriculture, pest control, microbiome modulation, and disinfection.
Jody McKerral and colleagues analyzed >2.5 million prophages from >500,000 bacterial genome assemblies, revealing that 94% are lysogens containing at least one identifiable prophage. The findings provide a new framework for identifying phages in environmental datasets, diverse bacterial phyla, and different locations.
Acne treatments often require extended periods and can be expensive, leading to the exploration of phages as an alternative. This study by Daniela Torres Di Bello and colleagues found that Pa.7 phage encapsulated in liposomes is not cytotoxic for HaCaT cells and can be safely used for skin treatments.
In this preprint, Xin Tan and colleagues show that repeated doses of phage lead to faster phage clearance in rats and monkeys. The study found that while plasma phage titer gradually decreased over time following a single dose, repeated doses caused it to drop 2-3 logs compared to the first dose regardless of phage type.
The Israeli Phage Therapy Center (IPTC) has received 159 requests for phage therapy, with 38% of them being for multi-drug resistant bacteria. Respiratory and bone infections were the most prevalent indications. 20 phage therapy courses were given to 18 patients, with a favorable clinical outcome seen in 77.7% of the cases.
In this episode of Breakpoints podcast, Dr. Saima Aslam and Dr. Daria Van Tyne join Dr. Rachel Britt for a discussion on phage therapy! Tune in for a review of their role in therapy, logistical considerations, the future of phage therapy, and more!
In celebration of International Women’s History Month, this episode of the Phage Files podcast looks back at female phage researchers’ contributions to early phage research. The hosts interview Dr. Elizabeth Kutter (Evergreen State College), who is considered the Mother of Phage Research in the modern scientific era, and Prof. Martha Clokie (University of Leicester), 2020’s recipient of the Outstanding Women in STEM.
From Timofey Skvortsov via Twitter: Hi all, where are you sequencing your new phage/bacterial isolates in the UK/Ireland these days? I’d appreciate any suggestions or insights!
Michael Schelling et al. published a new paper in PLOS Biology on how CRISPR-Cas effector specificity and cleavage site determine phage escape outcomes. They find that most pre-existing crRNA mismatches lead to phage escape, regardless of whether the mismatches ablate Cas12a cleavage in vitro.
Capsules and their traits affect phage susceptibility and plasmid conjugation efficiency, as per a preprint by Matthieu Haudiquet et al. They show that capsule swaps invert phage susceptibility and affect conjugation efficiency, with implications for population dynamics and horizontal gene transfer.
Talia Backman and colleagues published a new preprint on how a weaponized phage suppresses competitors in historical and modern metapopulations of pathogenic bacteria. The authors discovered a viral cluster shared amongst pathogenic Pseudomonas isolates, which encodes a tailocin — a phage-derived interbacterial warfare element.
Federico Prokopczuk et al. engineered a superinfective phage (eSI-Pf) based on the Pf4 phage, which is able to infect Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They tested it as a phage therapy tool for the treatment of life-threatening burn wound infections and found that while it was not able to maintain a sustained reduction in bacterial burden, it did prevent dissemination of P. aeruginosa from the burn site.
Fixed Phage, a Glasgow based biotech company, has secured £1.5m investment to further scale development and commercialisation of its phage technology in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin (Aug 7th-11th) is happening this year.
Check out the Special Issue “The Phage: Biology and Therapeutic Use,” published by Microorganisms and edited by Richard James (University of Nottingham) and David R. Harper (Evolution Biotechnologies). The deadline for manuscript submissions is July 31st, 2023.
In this episode of Phage Therapy Today podcast, Dr. Gina Suh shares her recent progress and experience in applying phage therapy at Mayo Clinic.
IPATH’s Translational Research in Bacteriophage Therapies Seminar Series has returned this year, featuring three speakers: Daria Van Tyne, Joseph Bondy-Denomy, and Austen Terwilliger. Watch recordings of them on YouTube, and catch upcoming talks from Breck Duerkop, Kimberly Seed, and Paul Turner (either in-person or online through Zoom).
A European public consultation on a new general chapter in the European Pharmacopeia on phage therapy active substances and medicinal products of human and veterinary use is open (until end of June). This is a unique opportunity to help shape future European pharmaceutical standards for innovative medicinal products. Get your voice heard!
Olaya Rendueles and colleagues have described how fitness costs drive competition between lysogenic and sensitive bacteria by co-cultivating a phage-sensitive strain and a polylysogenic Klebsiella pneumoniae strain under different phage pressures.
Tram Le and colleagues show the therapeutic potential of IV phage for recurrent urinary tract infections, describing a kidney transplant recipient with ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae who was successfully treated with 4 weeks of IV phage therapy, without antibiotics, and had no recurrence in a year of follow-up.
Nikhil George & Laura Hug examined a landfill via virus-host CRISPR spacer mapping, and found multiple examples of atypical virus-host dynamics, such as hyper-targeted viral populations, interviral conflicts, and non-specific viruses.
Yunha Hwang and colleagues found that virus-host interactions in dense hydrothermal mats involve crossing microbial domains and nested metabolisms. They saw that unrelated microbes encode CRISPR immunity against the same viruses, suggesting that virus entry into non-primary host cells may be common in densely populated ecosystems.
When the CDC reported a recent outbreak of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa linked to artificial tears, IPATH’s Co-Director, Chip Schooley, requested the Pseudomonas isolates associated with the outbreak. Fortunately, IPATH was able to identify active phages, and notified the CDC that clinicians could contact IPATH if interested in using these phages.
Viruses of Microbes is happening this year in Tbilisi, Georgia July 3rd-7th. The deadline for abstract submission is May 1st.
This week’s EMDB (Electron Microscopy Data Bank) release includes this beautiful 4.4 Å single particle CryoEM structure of a phicrAss001 virion!
This review by Fazal Mehmood Khan (Shenzhen University) and colleagues provides an update on the use of animal models in phage therapy, summarizing preclinical approaches in various in-vivo models and highlighting the need for pharmacokinetic data before application in humans.
The recording of the recent Clubhouse audio conversation on GMP phage therapy production (’Just say no to GMP?’) has just been posted! This was a talk hosted last week by Sabrina Green, Adriana Hernandez, Jean-Paul Pirnay, Patrick Druggan, and Barbara Brenner.
Phages seem to be saving lives left and right, but still, they remain unapproved drugs in most countries. Pharma companies don’t sell them; hospitals and pharmacies don’t stock them. In this Wired article, Maryn McKenna covers phage therapy; why we don’t have it yet, and where it’s at. A great one to share with family and friends!
By analyzing metagenomic samples from IBD patients, Shaqed Carasso (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology) and colleagues identified invertible regions that correlate with disease, including Bacteroides fragilis polysaccharide-A, which is mostly ‘OFF’-switched during inflammation, but switches ‘ON’ when inflammation is resolved. Intriguingly, they found that phages seem to induce the ‘OFF’ switch…
The International Workshop on Ecophage is happening in Valencia, Spain from Sept 12-13, 2023. Join experts in phage research, farmers, food companies, policy makers, and consumer reps in a workshop on phage-based strategies for preventing AMR in the agri-food system.
Hello Phage People,
Does anyone use Phage DNA Isolation Kit from Norgen Biotek? I’m using this kit and trying to increase the DNA concentration. I already did all the additional steps but does anyone have any tricks for increasing concentration? I appreciate it if you mail me your tricks.
In a new paper in Nature, Joseph Kreitz (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) and colleagues show that Photorhabdus virulence cassette (PVCs), part of a class of syringe-like nanomachines resembling phage tails, can be reprogrammed for protein delivery in eukaryotic cells.
The UK parliament recently heard evidence on phages for AMR. According to Stephanie Lesage via LinkedIn: “There was a general consensus on the need to embrace the biological and unique nature of phages and find more suitable approaches to stringent GMP production, but also make regulations more flexible by adopting a more pragmatic framework to ensure phages/cocktails can be updated to follow epidemiological evolutions and the unique requirements of some patients.”
The Canadian Society of Microbiologists conference (CSM) is hosting a phage session (Bacteriophage and bacterial defense systems). This year, the conference is hosted in Halifax from June 25th-28th, and the abstract deadline is April 17th.
In this CIDRAP podcast episode, ‘Phage Against the Routine’, Steffanie Strathdee, Greg Merril, Patrick McGann, and Jason Bennett discuss how infections caused by resistant Acinetobacter impact patients and new treatments.
The 4th International Conference on #Bacteriophage Research and #AntimicrobialResistance is happening at the University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai, India September 28-30, 2023.
Phage Phriday is back talking GMP & phages w/regulators & experts in the field. “Just say no to GMP?” with @Motherofphage, @AdriCaroHM, @PaulPirnay, Barbara Brenner @phages2patients, Patrick Druggan, and more! Friday, 31 Mar at 8:00 PM CEST on @clubhouse.
The Scottish Health Technologies Group has published advice on the use of phage therapy for the Scottish National Health Service. It recommends that phage therapy may be appropriate for patients with difficult to treat bacterial infections given it has been supported by a small number of randomized controlled trials.
In a new paper in PHAGE, Janet Nale (University of Leicester) and colleagues examine the activity of phages to control the growth of chicken and swine Salmonella strains in avian, porcine, and human cell cultures. They found that a six-phage cocktail was most effective in preventing bacterial growth.
In a new paper in Scientific Reports, Nader Abdelhamied (Zewail City of Science and Technology, Egypt) and colleagues describe a new phage-based biosensor for the detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7.
In a new preprint, Rebekah Silva and colleagues from New England Biolabs report the first in vitro reconstitution of phage Mu’s DNA hypermodification (glycine harvested from tRNA to hypermodify adenine) from purified components.
Akos Nyerges (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues published a new paper on developing a genetic firewall to prevent viral infections and gene transfer in organisms, which could be used to make any organism resistant to all natural viruses and prevent genetic information flow into and out of genetically modified organisms.
In this LinkedIn post, Leonard Theron (RumeXperts) discusses the upcoming Phage Academy event in Belgium and the importance of phages in bovine disease management.
In this issue of Cell, Brianna Duncan-Lowey et al. and Yina Gao et al. both show RADAR proteins assemble into massive molecular complexes but present distinct views about how these assemblies obstruct phage.
Justin M. Jenson et al. published a new paper in Nature entitled Ubiquitin-like Conjugation by Bacterial cGAS Enhances Anti-phage Defence. In the paper, the authors show that Cap2 forms a thioester bond with the C-terminal glycine of cGAS and promotes conjugation of cGAS to target proteins in a process that resembles ubiquitination.
In this paper, Charles Dulberger and colleagues use live-cell fluorescence microscopy to visualize the spatiotemporal dynamics of mycobacteriophage infection in single cells and populations, showing that infection is dependent on the host nucleoid-associated Lsr2 protein, and that many mycobacteriophages code for their own Lsr2-related proteins.
Paul Hyman (Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA) and colleagues have published a paper indicating that using multiple hosts during phage isolation does not select for phages with broader host ranges.
Intralytix has received an SBIR Phase III grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to optimize SalmoFresh™ application for small and medium poultry and meat producers.
Cyanophages play an important role in controlling the abundance of their hosts, which are globally significant populations of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. In a new paper published in Viruses, Emily Dart (Clark University) and colleauges carried out quantitative analyses of T4-like cyanophage community structure and dynamics in combination with host community analysis.
Amit Rimon (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Communications on topical phage therapy in a mouse model of Cutibacterium acnes-induced lesions. They found that phage therapy may be a promising strategy to combat resistant acne vulgaris. This paper was also featured as an Editors’ Highlight.
A new Transplant Infectious Diseases study by Ghady Haidar (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine) and colleagues reports the use of nebulized phage therapy to treat Burkholderia multivorans in a CF patient. Unfortunately this was a clinical failure, but highlights the limitations, unknowns, and challenges of phage therapy for resistant infections.
Boston-based global health startup PhagePro has obtained an exclusive license to develop and market their phage cocktail product to prevent community spread of cholera.
Armata Pharmaceuticals announces positive topline data from the completed Phase 1b2a SWARM-P.a. trial evaluating AP-PA02, a novel, inhaled multi-phage therapeutic for the treatment of chronic pulmonary Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in cystic fibrosis patients.
The Africa Phage Forum will be hosting a webinar on this Wednesday, 15th March 2023 at 6:00 PM East Africa Time (EAT). The webinar, titled ‘Scientific Writing & Effective Grant Writing’, will be given by Dr. Tobi Nagel, the Founder and President of Phages for Global Health. Register here!
The documentary, Salt in My Soul, follows the life of Mallory Smith, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 3, and a resistant infection at age 15. In her final days, her father attempted to arrange phage therapy for her, but it was just a little too late.
In Sydney next week? Attend the Sydney screening of Salt in My Soul + expert panel, and hear from international and local experts in AMR and phage therapy, including Ameneh Khatami, Ruby Lin, Jon Iredell (Phage Australia), Richard Alm (CARB-X) and Diane Shader Smith (Mallory’s mother / AMR advocate).
When: Thu., 16 March 2023, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm AEDT.
From Phage Twitter, via @hayleyn0rdstr0m: Adaptive Phage Therapeutics laid off 30% of the company this morning, including me… So, looking for phage research jobs in the DC metro area again! Drop me a DM if you have leads or want to chat.
The Good Virus is a new book by Tom Ireland that tells the story of phage research, from its beginnings to the present day. Now available for preorder in the UK and the US!
In this JAMA Medical News & Perspectives article, Eli Cahan discusses the resurgence of interest in phage therapy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a new preprint, Enea Maffei (University of Basel) and colleagues describe a new phage, Paride, which is able to kill dormant, antibiotic-tolerant bacteria. They suggest that this phage hijacks weak spots in the dormant physiology of antibiotic-tolerant bacteria that could be exploited as Achilles’ heels for the development of new treatments targeting resilient bacterial infections.
A new paper in Nature Microbiology by Madison C. Williams (University of Washington) and colleagues entitled Restriction endonuclease cleavage of phage DNA enables resuscitation from Cas13-induced bacterial dormancy reports that restriction modification systems frequently co-occur with type VI CRISPR systems and that they synergize to clear phage infections and resuscitate cells.
Screen Australia has announced $4.6 million in production funding for 21 documentaries, including A Forgotten Cure (working title), a 54-minute phage therapy documentary that follows teams of scientists in Melbourne and Sydney (part of Phage Australia) as they test phage therapy on three critically ill patients.
In this study, Benjamin A. Adler (University of California, Berkeley) and colleagues used a high-throughput genetic screen to uncover genome-wide host suppressors of diverse single-gene lysis proteins (Sgls). See also this interview with the authors about the work.
ESCMID (European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) is hosting a hands-on course on phage therapy 25 - 27 July 2023, Brussels, Belgium) – register by 06 June 2023 (25 spaces only!).
Our @PhageFiles podcast is finally here! Tune in on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Deezer and Amazon Music to listen to our first episodes. In our podcast we will discuss all things phage. You will hear from researchers and entrepreneurs interested in different aspects of phage biology. But first, we will tell you about the fascinating history of phage discovery.
We would like to thank @Ellie_Jameson for our beautiful phage mini versions. Check out more of Ellie’s artwork here!
A new paper in PNAS by Bin Li and colleagues discusses how viruses require the small polyamine spermidine to replicate normally, in part due to its important role in ribosomal translation. They found genes in many phages and eukaryotic viruses encoding enzymes that produce spermidine or homospermidine, supporting an important role of spermidine in virus biology.
In a new paper in Nature Microbiology, Charles Dulberger and colleagues show that the mycobacterial nucleoid-associated protein Lsr2 is required for productive mycobacteriophage infection.
In a new paper in Food Microbiology, Marta Volpi and colleagues report on a full-scale industrial trial to evaluate the efficacy of a commercial phage product to reduce the prevalence of naturally occurring Salmonella on pork carcasses. They found that phage application allows for approximately 79% reduction of Salmonella-positive carcasses.
In a new paper in Viruses, Sandrine Le Guellec and colleagues describe a preclinical study involving macaques to predict the efficacy of delivery of nebulizer-administered Pseudomonas aeruginosa phages during mechanical ventilation. They found that the lung deposition of viable phage particles ranged from 6% to 26% of the phages loaded in the nebulizer, and that 1 × 10^9 PFU/mL was an efficient dose.
BiomX Inc. announced positive results from Part 1 of the Phase 1b/2a trial evaluating their novel phage cocktail, BX004, for the treatment of chronic pulmonary infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis.
In a talk entitled “Bacteriophage Therapy: From Soviet Clinical Experience to Current Activities at the Eliava Institute”, Dr. Mzia Kutateladze (Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Georgia) will present her latest research at the Targeting Phage Therapy Congress in Paris (June 1-2, 2023).
In a new paper in Cell Reports, Beatriz Beamud (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and colleagues report on their study of the genetic determinants of host tropism in Klebsiella phages. They isolated 46 phages to challenge 138 representative clinical Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates, and found that <2% of 6,319 phage-host combinations tested yielding detectable interactions. Capsule diversity was found to be the main factor restricting phage host range.
A subset of jumbo phages have recently been shown to encode a ‘phage nucleus’ for sequestering the phage genome away from host nucleolytic attack. Eliza Nieweglowska (University of California, San Francisco) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Communications on how the ϕPA3 phage nucleus is enclosed by a self-assembling 2D crystalline lattice.
In a new Nature Microbiology paper, Jan Wohlfarth (ETH Zurich) and colleagues show that Listeria and Enterococcus can evade phage predation by transient conversion to a cell wall-deficient L-form state, which is triggered by endolysins disintegrating the cell wall ‘from without’. Results suggest this represents a population-level persistence mechanism to evade eradication by phage. Read also this discussion of the paper by Thomas Denes (University of Tennessee, Knoxville).
The Japanese government is moving forward with a pull incentive for developing new antibiotics, called the Antimicrobial Securement Project. According to CARB-X’s director, Kevin Outterson, this is a revenue guarantee pull incentive, akin to what Sweden is doing, but higher in funding amount, and is an exciting step in the right direction.
Erytech (a red blood cell-based therapeutics company) and Pherecydes (a phage therapy company) will merge to form a new company, whose name is yet to be disclosed, and redirect Erytech’s financial resources, people and network toward Pherecydes’ phage therapy programs.
On Feb 28 at 5 PM East Africa Time, the Africa Phage Forum will be hosting a talk by Dr. Evelien Adriaenssens (Quadram Institute; Chair of ICTV Bacterial Viruses Committee) on the recently announced changes to phage taxonomy, including the abolishment of Myoviridae/Siphoviridae/Podoviridae families.
The 28th Biennial Conference on Phage/Virus Assembly will be held at Shrigley Hall in Macclesfield, UK from 18-23 June 2023.
In a new paper in Biotechnology Advances, Wajid Hussain (Huazhong University of Science and Technology) and colleagues review genetic engineering approaches for bacteriophages, with a focus on their potential applications.
Soo Khim Chan (University of California San Diego) and colleagues have developed peptides which bind specifically to Pseudomonas phage Good Vibes, which may enable real-time analysis of phage in vivo and monitor the efficacy of phage therapy.
A new paper by Pablo Quirós (Universitat de Barcelona) and colleagues published in The ISME Journal reports the isolation of the first phage infecting some Nitrosomonas species. This polyvalent virulent phage (named ΦNF-1) infected Nitrosomonas europaea, Nitrosomonas communis, and Nitrosomonas nitrosa.
In a new paper in Cell, Brianna Duncan-Lowey (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues determined the cryo-EM structures of the RADAR defense complex, revealing RdrA as a heptameric, two-layered AAA+ ATPase and RdrB as a dodecameric, hollow complex with twelve surface-exposed deaminase active sites.
In this new paper in Virus Evolution, Eric Olo Ndela (Université Clermont Auvergne, France) and colleagues report the discovery of sixteen complete microvirus genomes that represent two novel groups of microviruses, tentatively named Reekeekeevirinae and Roodoodoovirinae.
On February 8 at 9:30am GMT the UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee will be holding a public oral evidence session for “The antimicrobial potential of bacteriophages.”
On Feb 28 at 5PM East Africa Time, Phage Kenya Consortium will be hosting a talk by Dr. Evelien Adriaenssens (Quadram Institute; Chair of ICTV Bacterial Viruses Committee) on the recently announced changes to phage taxonomy, including the abolishment of Myoviridae/Siphoviridae/Podoviridae families.
Researchers from UC San Diego, the J. Craig Venter Institute and Yale University have been awarded $10 million by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support research on using jumbo viruses as new therapeutic agents.
In this PBS Vitals video, Alok Patel (MD) and Sheena Williams (RN) explore how phage therapy could help humanity win the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
The next Viruses of Microbes conference will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia on July 3-7, 2023. The conference marks a new era in viral research which has begun with the recognition of viruses of microorganisms – viruses of bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes as predominant component of the biosphere and led to the identification of these viruses as major players in the global ecology, public health, microbial physiology, and evolution. Registration open now (and limited to 500 participants).
In the latest episode of the Phage Therapy Today podcast, Carrie-Lynn Langlais Furr, CEO and Co-founder at Bacteriophage & Drug Development Consultants (BDDC) talks about how to navigate the drug development and regulatory waters for phage therapies.
The UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the antimicrobial potential of bacteriophages as a way to address antibiotic resistance. Here you can read 34 public letters contributed by the international phage community about the need for consideration of phage therapy to combat AMR infections.
Ellina Trofimova has developed a new version of her Plaque Size Tool that doesn’t require installation on Google Colab.
Ben Chan (Center for Phage Biology & Therapy, Yale University) and colleagues report the use of a personalized, inhaled phage therapy for treating P. aeruginosa infections in 9 CF adults, with the goal of selecting phages that target bacterial cell surface receptors that contribute to antibiotic resistance or virulence. Results showed that phage therapy: 1) reduced sputum P. aeruginosa, 2) showed evidence for predicted trade-offs in most subjects, and 3) improved lung function.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics announced that the first patient has been dosed in the PHAGE clinical trial, evaluating bacteriophage therapy in adults with cystic fibrosis who carry Pseudomonas aeruginosa in their lungs.
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Developing a cell-free bacteriophage production system (recruitment-recrutement.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca)
Antibiotics that affect translation can antagonize phage infectivity by interfering with the deployment of counter-defenses (www.pnas.org)
Identification of integrons and gene cassette-associated recombination sites in bacteriophage genomes (www.frontiersin.org)
National Geographic visited and wrote about Dr. Lillian Musila (Kenya Medical Research Institute) and her colleagues about their identification of over 150 phages and work toward using them to address AMR. The article features several Phages for Global Health researchers!
Lucía Blasco and colleagues published a new paper describing 32 new phage tail-like bacteriocins (pyocins) from a clinical collection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and their potential use as typing markers and antimicrobial agents.
Hawkins et al. published a new paper which provides the first complete structural analysis of the S. epidermidis–infecting phage Andhra. Key findings include elucidating critical features for virion assembly, host recognition, and penetration, as well as identifying two proteins that comprise the tail tip heterooctamer.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses recently adopted a binomial naming format for virus species. A new paper describes how to create Latinized binomials for virus species, how to automatically generate large batches of novel genus and species names, and why the new format for species names does not actually affect virus names.
Exploiting viral ecology to combat problem organisms in biological wastewater treatment (www.ncl.ac.uk)
Bacteriophage therapy for human musculoskeletal and skin/soft tissue infections (www.sciencedirect.com)
Host control by SPβ phage regulatory switch as potential manipulation strategy (www.sciencedirect.com)
Coupled induction of prophage and virulence factors during tick transmission of the Lyme disease spirochete (www.nature.com)
The Breadth of Bacteriophages Contributing to the Development of the Phage-Based Vaccines for COVID-19: An Ideal Platform to Design the Multiplex Vaccine (www.mdpi.com)
A widespread family of phage-inducible chromosomal islands only steals bacteriophage tails to spread in nature (www.sciencedirect.com)
CRISPR-Cas provides limited phage immunity to a prevalent gut bacterium in gnotobiotic mice (www.nature.com)
Connecting genomic islands across prokaryotic and phage genomes via protein families (www.nature.com)
Phage-resistant mutations impact bacteria susceptibility to future phage infections and antibiotic response (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
Paving the way forward: Escherichia coli bacteriophages in a One Health approach (www.tandfonline.com)
Monitoring phage-induced lysis of gram-negatives in real time using a fluorescent DNA dye (www.nature.com)
PhD Studentship in Civil Engineering: Exploiting viral ecology to combat problem organisms in biological wastewater treatment (www.ncl.ac.uk)
In a new GARDP antimicrobial viewpoint piece, Jon Iredell and Jessica Sacher of Phage Australia discuss ways to improve the economics of personalized phage therapy as part of a clinical service, including increasing the number of patients who benefit from each phage batch, establishing safety through endpoint rather than full process controls, and exploring new payment models like value-based pricing.
Cole Matrishin (University at Buffalo) and colleagues published a new preprint on how phages are unrecognized players in oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis ecology, contributing to strain-level diversity and the species pangenome. They demonstrate that prophages harbored by a model strain of the pathogen are active, producing extracellular viral particles.
From 2018 to 2022, IPATH initiated phage hunts for 265 patients, but 25% couldn’t proceed due to lack of phages. IPATH has now partnered with Korean phage company MicrobiotiX; IPATH will screen and send sample isolates to MicrobiotiX, who will screen and send phages back to IPATH.
The Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group will begin a phase 1b/2, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to examine safety and microbiological activity of phage therapy in persons with cystic fibrosis colonized with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Technophage, a phage biotech company in Portugal, successfully completed its Phase I/IIa Clinical Trial of TP-102, a phage cocktail for infected diabetic foot ulcers.
Exciting day 🤩 Our newly born GIVoM - Gruppo Italiano Virus of Microbes met for the first time! Italians – in the country and abroad 🇮🇹 - working in this field 🧫🦠🧬 will gather every month to share our research and support each other.❗️PM if you want to know more about this! - via Michela Gambino on LinkedIn
The Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team, an undergraduate SEA-PHAGES team at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, announces the launch of the 2nd edition of the team’s journal issue, PHAMILIA. This is the very first undergraduate research journal focused on bacteriophage biology. It showcases publications on diverse subjects of bacteriophage biology, from the team and other guest writers. To download: https://ibadanphageresearchteam.org/