Managing urinary tract infections through phage therapy: a novel approach

Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2020 Apr;65(2):217-231. doi: 10.1007/s12223-019-00750-y. Epub 2019 Sep 7.


Upsurge in the instances of antibiotic-resistant uropathogenic Escherichia .coli (UPECs) strains has repositioned the attention of researchers towards a century old antimicrobial approach popularly known as phage therapy. Rise of extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) and biofilm producing strains has added another step of hurdle in treatment of uropathogens with conventional antibiotics, thus providing a further impetus for search for exploring new therapeutic measures. In this direction, bacteriophages, commonly called phages, are recently being considered as potential alternatives for treatment of UPECs. Phages are the tiniest form of viruses which are ubiquitous in nature and highly specific for their host. This review discusses the possible ways of using natural phages, genetically engineered phages, and phage lytic enzymes (PLEs) as an alternative antimicrobial treatment for urinary tract infections. The review also sheds light on the synergistic use of conventional antibiotics with phages or PLEs for treatment of uropathogens. These methods of using phages and their derivatives, alone or in combination with antibiotics, have proved fruitful so far in in vitro studies. However, in vivo studies are required to make them accessible for human use. The present review is a concerted effort towards putting together all the information available on the subject.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Phage Therapy*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / therapy*
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / virology*