Phage Therapy Case Summary

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1. Briefly describe how phage were discovered, and how they were quickly used to treat disease.
a. Phage were discovered by Felix D'Herelle when he found a motive to search of a "good microbe hunter" after seeing 20 people dead in 8 days due to the yellow fever. He originally discovered phage by chance. While working with sick locusts, he observed a puzzling phenomenon: amid some of his bacterial cultures, there were what he described as "taches vierges" - pure or clear spots on an otherwise cloudy background. When bacteria are allowed to replicate in a petri dish and the temperature is at an optimal 37 degrees Celsius, normally cloudy patters form on the agar similar to frost on a windowpane. D'Herelle instead observed small, clear, perfectly circular spots that had formed amid the bacterial growth. He tucked away this newly acquired knowledge, and years later he discovered his proof that the phenomenon of the clear spots wasn't limited to the coccobacilli of locusts, but that bacteria pathogenic to man were equally susceptible to it when testing human stool from soldiers potentially with dysentery. To analyze what were killing the bacteria,
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Give two reasons why the use of phage therapy was controversial, and eventually abandoned in the West.
a. Phage therapy was controversial in part because doctors testing phage on patients was done without controls and, in many cases, on self-limiting conditions. It was unclear if bacterial diseases were being cured because of surgical procedure, the phage, or a combination of the two. Control groups were never established, and the phage phenomenon quickly found itself without any scientific research backing it.
b. In addition, D'Herelle was not as well-respected within the scientific community, he was a self-taught scientist who tended to articulate his arguments in simpler terms, relying on a combination of logic and name dropping. Using phage therapy meant doctors risked their name being associated with

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