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Application of Bacteriophages as a Strategy to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Gram-Negative Pathogens

Dept/Center/Lab: Antimicrobial Resistance 

School: School of Biotechnology

Project Incharge:Dr. Geetha Kumar
Co-Project Incharge:Malavika B. H.
Application of Bacteriophages as a Strategy to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance in Gram-Negative Pathogens

The term bacteriophages (or phages) is derived from Greek and literally translates to “bacteria-eaters”. These bacterial specific viruses have broad applications, but are especially useful as alternatives to antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) infections. We are interested in isolating and characterizing novel phages against MDR gram-negative pathogens to increase the repertoire of potential phage therapy candidates from India. We are actively isolating phages from sewage and wastewater sources in South India against MDR Klebsiella pneumoniae

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an emerging health hazard. AMR causes severe crisis in health care settings due to emergence of nosocomial infections caused by antibiotic resistant organisms classified as ESKAPE pathogens. When considering the Indian scenario, the gram-negative pathogens play a very important role in causing deadly multi drug resistant (MDR) infections. Among that, K. pneumoniae alone causes the highest percentage of MDR infections. The use of bacteriophage as an alternative strategy is highly promising, considering its benefits. 

  • We are interested in isolating and characterizing multiple phages specific to K. pneumoniae from various waste water sources. This phage characterization will ultimately help us in developing a phage library that can be accessed to find suitable candidate phages for therapy as well as for other broader use. 
  • We are also interested in studying the mechanism of phage resistance and antibiotic resistance in K. pneumoniae.
  • Optimizing parameters and implementation of phages in clinical settings to combat MDR infections such as diabetic foot infections and corneal infections. Applications of phages in environmental settings is also an area of interest. 
  • In addition to K. pneumoniae, we are also actively isolating phages against Pseudomonas aeruginosaAcinetobacter baumanniiEscherichia coliProteus vulgaris and Staphylococcus aureus. 

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