Segments in this Video

Phages (04:12)


Bacteriophage is a virus that only affects bacteria. It can destroy antibiotic resistant bacteria, which is becoming a global health problem. Experts are using phages in limited trials in France.

Félix d’Herelle (04:19)

Félix d’Herelle was a self-taught biologist, who specialized in bacteria. In 1914, his scientific observations led to the discovery of phages. He isolated phages and used them to cure numerous viruses.

Phage Solutions (02:43)

After d'Herelle's discovery, phage solutions were mass produced and spread throughout the world. Top scientists questioned d'Herelle's creditability and called him a fraud. Phages could not be seen and were not fully understood until decades later.

Usage of Phage (04:37)

Phage therapy is rarely used today and has not been evaluated by modern standards. The discovery of penicillin and antibiotics replaced the common use of phages; antibiotics were simpler to produce and ship.

Antibiotic Resistance (05:47)

Throughout the 20th century, antibiotics became stronger, but resistance was on the rise. The resistance was a mutation that spread between different types of bacteria. Georgia became the leading country in phage usage.

Phages in Georgia (05:01)

Phage usage is common and has attracted foreign patients. Phage is an option for patients who have become antibiotic resistant. Labs study the bacteria and determine which phage would be most effective for the patient.

Phage Tourism (04:25)

A service industry to support foreigners coming to Georgia for phages has emerged. Many patients use phage in addition to other treatments in their home countries.

Phage Classification (05:45)

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise and medical professionals are searching for other solutions. Phage is an option but its legality in most countries is unclear. Phages are a biological entity not created like other medicines.

Phage Clinical Trials (04:20)

The first clinical trials started in 2008 because of concerns about antibiotic resistance in NATO soldiers. It was trialed with burn victims, who are at high risk of infection. Western Europe did not have a collection of phages and natural ones had to be obtained.

Phage Production (03:26)

The use of phage in France began after it could be manufactured to meet state regulations; it took a team of scientists from different fields. Phages are only used for serious infections.

Power of Phages (07:36)

Scientist Vincent Fischetti has studied how phages relate to human survival. Clinical trials using cloned lysin, the enzyme created by phages, are underway.

Credits: Bacteria Killers (00:54)

Credits: Bacteria Killers

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Bacteria Killers

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One hundred years ago, the scientist Félix d’Herelle discovered the existence of the bacteriophage, a mysterious "bacteria killing" virus. As antibiotics are becoming less efficient in fighting increasingly strong bacteria, will phage therapy become the science of tomorrow? This story takes us from the banks of the Ganges to the shores of the Black Sea in Russia and Georgia, from Paris to the United States, as it retraces the discovery of bacteriophages, viruses that only infect bacteria, destroying them by reproducing using the bacteria’s own cellular mechanisms. With antibiotics today showing signs of ineffectiveness, there is now renewed interest in phages. They are being used in clinical trials worldwide and continue to fascinate scientists. In the fight against microbes using synthetic biology, research into phages takes us to the depths of the oceans to discover the key role they play in regulating our planet’s climate.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: FPT274258

ISBN: 978-1-63722-563-9

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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