Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is a frequent cause of bacteremia in immunocompromised patients and there exists only two antibiotics that are effective for treating VRE infection. In January Infection and Immunity, Biswajit Biswas and colleagues from National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, show that bacteriophage therapy can be an efficient way of treating vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium infection in mice.

Biswas et al. used a VRE strain to induce a fatal bacteremia in a murine model of the disease and observed that a single dose of a lytic phage (administered 45 minutes after the bacterial challenge) was sufficient to rescue 100% of the animals. When treatment was delayed to the point where all animals were moribund, approximately 50% of them were rescued by a single injection of this phage preparation (Infect Immun 2002, 70:204-210).

These results demonstrate that bacteriophages "are safe and effective as bactericidal agents...

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