Interpretive Summary: Efficacy of phage therapy in pigs
By Anne Kamiya, MS
While antibiotics are the cornerstone of disease control in livestock, there are growing global concerns over the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and numerous countries have implemented policies to reduce the routine use of antibiotics in livestock. Therefore, research is needed to identify alternative methods for disease control. Bacteriophages (phages) have recently regained interest as an alternative to chemical antibiotics. Phages are viruses capable of infecting bacteria, replicating within the host and causing host lysis; targeting species of bacteria with phage can serve as a bactericide and decrease the likelihood of developing multidrug resistance. A recent meta analysis explored the pros and cons of phage therapy in swine providing new insight into their application as antibiotic alternatives, which is visually expressed through the infographic recently published in the Journal of Animal Science.
Overall, the study demonstrated the phage treatment significantly reduced concentrations of targeted bacteria in pigs and is proven to be a promising method for controlling bacteria disease and reducing the use of antibiotics. Further research is necessary to determine whether phage treatment also improves growth efficiency or performance in livestock.