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In a first, Dr Dangs Lab begins bacteriophage susceptibility testing to combat antibiotic resistance

ANI | Updated: Oct 22, 2020 16:01 IST


New Delhi [India], October 22 (ANI): In an initiative that will enable thousands of Indians suffering from unresolved and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections to get bacteriophage susceptibility testing done locally, Dr Dangs Lab, a Delhi-based diagnostic laboratory, has begun diagnostic bacteriophage sensitivity testing to equip patients for subsequent therapy to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, with pan-India sample collection services.
The Lab has joined hand with Vitalis Phage Therapy, India's first phage therapy initiative, to provide phage sensitivity testing in India, making it easier for Indians to access phage therapy offered by the Eliava Phage Therapy Center, associated with the 97-year-old Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology and Virology in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Phage therapy is an approach to treat bacterial infections and can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, said Dr Arjun Dang, CEO of Dr Dangs Lab. Antibiotic resistance or antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to rampant misuse of antibiotics, has emerged as a major threat to humanity.

"This initiative will increase accessibility to phage therapy as an extremely effective alternative for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections," Dr Dang told ANI.

Thousands of individuals worldwide have benefited from phage therapy over the past few years. Vitalis Phage Therapy has enabled dozens of patients from India with conditions such as chronic UTI, kidney infections, prostatitis, respiratory infections etc to benefit from phage therapy from the Eliava Phage Therapy Center in Georgia.

Earlier, however, given logistical limitations, the samples sent from India to Georgia for testing would take up to two weeks to report out and this made phage therapy out of reach for patients suffering from acute infections. With this initiative by Dr Dang Lab, the process of testing people will accelerate and quick access to subsequent therapy will help the huge number of people suffering from unresolved bacterial infections.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Dang, said that the new initiative of providing prompt bacteriophage susceptibility results will help a huge number of people suffering from unresolved bacterial infections.

"We are very excited to provide Bacteriophage Susceptibility Testing at Dr Dangs Lab for patients seeking phage treatment through Vitalis Phage Therapy. In line with the lab's motto of, 'Creating Value over Volumes' we are immensely hopeful of the power of Phage sensitivity testing and subsequent therapy to help the huge number of people suffering from unresolved bacterial infections. The cost of phage susceptibility testing will be Rs 850, and the services for sample collection will be offered in all major cities pan India," added Dr Dang.

Bacteriophages, or simply phages, are viruses that are natural predators of bacteria. They are the most abundant organisms in the Earth's biosphere and are present in every environment where bacteria are present - even inside the human body. Though phage therapy was first developed over a hundred years ago, the last century has mainly witnessed treatments for infections with antibiotics.

To administer phage therapy, it is necessary to first test the patient's samples from the infected site to establish the sensitivity of the pathogenic bacteria to the phages, to know which phages will be effective in treating the infection.

"In our experience of enabling phage treatment for patients, we realised that samples sent from India to Georgia for phage sensitivity testing would take up to 2 weeks to reach. This made phage therapy out of reach for patients suffering from acute infections, and we at Vitalis Phage Therapy were committed to helping patients overcome this hurdle. With testing now available locally at Dr Dangs Lab, patients will be able to get their culture and phage susceptibility report in a matter of days, making the diagnostic process quicker and have more time for their treatment", says Pranav Johri, Founder of Vitalis Phage Therapy, the official partner of the Eliava Phage Therapy Center and Eliava Institute in India.

"Local testing of clinical bacterial isolates on susceptibility to therapeutic bacteriophage preparations within a local diagnostic laboratory as opposed to sending the isolates to Georgia will significantly speed up the process of phage selection and subsequent phage treatment. Providing this activity locally thus will help medical staff accelerate their treatment of a patient battling bacterial infections," writes Dr Mzia Kutateladze, Director of the Eliava Institute.

The renowned Department of Microbiology at Dr Dangs Lab has a distinct section for Phage Susceptibility testing and is Mentored by Dr Navin Dang, a B.C. Roy Awardee, the founder of Dr Dangs Lab and the country's leading Microbiologist. Also working closely on Phage Susceptibility is Dr Devjani De, Head Microbiology, Dr Dangs Lab, trained at the Eliava Institute in Georgia on Bacteriophage Susceptibility testing. (ANI)

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