Can Phage Therapy Replace Antibiotics in Growth Promotion?

By Suzanne Osborne

Antibiotics are used extensively in the meat and poultry industry to treat sick animals, prevent disease, and to promote growth. But the emergence of antibiotic resistance in both veterinary and human medicine means that there is a critical need to find alternative approaches to antibiotic use in the food we consume.

Bacteriophage are a promising alternative to antibiotics

Bacteriophage are viruses that hijack bacteria for their own replication; leading to rapid bacterial death. Bacteriophage are highly specific to the bacteria species they can kill. According to Alexander Sulakvelidze, Chief Scientific Officer at Intralytix Inc.,” phages have remarkable bactericidal activity against their specific targeted bacterial strains.” He believes that the application of bacteriophages, called phage therapy, to manage infectious diseases, “if broadly implemented, could have [a] profound impact on reducing antibiotic usage.”

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