A microscopic view of MRSA bacteria

A microscopic view of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria

The Looming Crisis

[T]he scourge of resistant bacteria is an epidemic without a trademark ribbon or a walkathon in its name, a chilling crisis that's been intensifying for years but thus far has elicited no real public outcry. 'No one thinks it's a big deal, because it hasn't affected them yet,' says Jason Newland, a practicing MD and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's antimicrobial resistance committee. 'We need to educate folks that this situation is going to change medicine, so that people will start asking the FDA to develop regulations that are not nearly as stringent. I don't want it to reach the point of Ebola, where we have nothing to treat people on a large scale.'

"A Cure Exists For Antibiotic-Resistant Infections. So Why Are Thousands Of Americans Still Dying?" Prevention, January 12, 2015. Web.

The Gravity of the Threat

A 2014 World Health Organization report concluded that the emergence of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" threatens to become a worse global health crisis than the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In his Foreword to this report, the World Health Organization's Assistant Director-General for Health Security, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, warned that this development constitutes "a problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine;" adding that “[a] post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century." 1 The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance commissioned by United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron issued a paper in December 2014 which estimated that "[a]ntimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone, with many hundreds of thousands more dying in other areas of the world," while projecting that the number of annual deaths attributable to antimicrobial resistance could climb to 10 million by 2050. The Review further suggests that antimicrobial resistance could further trigger a reduction of 2% to 3.5% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) . . . cost[ing] the world up to 100 trillion USD" by 20502

Notwithstanding the gravity of the threat, the global pharmaceutical industry has not responded with new antibiotic drugs. Quite to the contrary, Britain's Royal Pharmaceutical Society reports that "no new class of antibiotics has been discovered since 1987, largely because the financial returns for finding new classes of antibiotics are too low."3 Moreover, concerns continue to multiply regarding the health effects of antibiotic use. Scientists have observed that "even when effective antibiotics are available, it is becoming increasingly apparent that broad-spectrum antibiotics can have sustained and detrimental effects on the body's communities of beneficial bacteria . . . which, according to a growing body of research, play a vital role in human nutrition."4

  • 1. Fukuda, Dr. Keiji. "Foreword." Antimicrobial Resistance: Global Report on Surveillance. World Health Organization., 2014. IX. Web.
  • 2. Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations. Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, December 2014. 3,5-6. Web.
  • 3. Editorial. The New York Times. May 10, 2014. Web.
  • 4. Keen, Eric C. “Phage Therapy: Concept to Cure.” Frontiers in Microbiology 3 (2012): 238. PMC. Web. 20 May 2015

Phage Therapy Offers a Solution

Through its worldwide efforts to market commercial phage therapy as a viable and commercially available antibiotic alternative, ABTI seeks to raise awareness of this looming threat and its most promising solution. Fortunately, Western scientists have become increasingly receptive to phage therapy in recent years. Yet, most literature still characterizes phage therapy as promising yet unproven concept that needs "more research." Granted, Georgian scientists perfected phage therapy under conditions that did not meet so-called "Western standards" for laboratory research or pharmaceutical production - but should that perceived shortcoming remain the basis for denying potentially life-saving treatment while Western science "reinvents the wheel" to its satisfaction? Or should "more than 80 years of use in hundreds of thousands of people" 1 receive at least some consideration?

At ABTI, we respect and understand that the fact that Western science has required several years to acquaint itself with Georgia's advancements in phage technology; many of which occurred undocumented under the often secretive conditions of the Soviet era. Nevertheless, as one recent media report concluded, "[d]rug resistance poses few problems in Georgia, a nation of nearly 5 million, where phage therapy is standard protocol," while "[m]ore than 2 million Americans each year get sick from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which find their victims both in the hospital and in the everyday world. At least 23,000 die annually from those infections." 2 Studies published over the past several decades, based on trials conducted at Eliava and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, have shown that phage therapy has an 80 to 90 percent success rate against bacteria likely to show antibiotic resistance, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.3 The results continue to speak for themselves.

Rather than simply making assertions throughout this site, we have sought to offer the best documentation we can find. We urge you to review this material critically. If you remain unpersuaded, tell us where we have fallen short. If, however, you agree with us that Western regulatory authorities should reform and streamline their regulatory approval processes so as to "fast track" phage therapy products for human medical treatment, then join us in demanding change - and action.

  • 1. "Phages v. Antibiotics." EliavaPhages.com. Web.
  • 2. "A Cure Exists For Antibiotic-Resistant Infections. So Why Are Thousands Of Americans Still Dying?" Prevention, January 12, 2015. Web.
  • 3. Svoboda, Elizabeth. "The Next Phage." Popular Science, March 31, 2009.