Press release written by Bella Smith at Creative Biolabs.
It is unveiled by the World Health Organization that about 10 million people get infected with tuberculosis (TB), a disease caused by Mycobacterium spp., and this illness has continued to result in 1.5 million deaths each year, making it the world’s top infectious killer. Though preventable and curable, 40% of tuberculosis (TB) cases are not properly diagnosed and treated. Reports also show that Mycobacterium also hit the farming industry by infecting cattle. All these are compelling facts for the development of novel, rapid, and efficient diagnostic tools, for which researchers have introduced several microbiological methods for TB diagnosis and monitoring the patients’ response to treatments.
Bacteriophages, also informally known as phages or bacterial viruses, can infect and replicate within bacteria and archaea, of which Mycobacteriophages are a type that can efficiently and specifically infect Mycobacterium spp., destroying the bacteria and exposing its contents and DNA. In some studies, Mycobacteriophages have been used as a tool providing information about genetic analysis and clinical control of TB, and some phage-based diagnostic approaches have been developed, including those for commercial purposes.
Benefits of Bacteriophage-based Tuberculosis diagnostics
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis in humans and other organisms is featured with an abnormally thick waxy cell wall. This makes it difficult to perform DNA extraction and PCR detection to diagnose and identify TB. It’s also challenging to detect tuberculosis by culture-based strategies as Mycobacterium displays a distinctively slow growth speed compared with fast-growing bacteria like Escherichia coli. On the contrary, Mycobacteriophages have host specificity and will only infect live Mycobacterium. This is why some biotech companies have developed novel diagnostic assays, with a combination of phages-based technology and qPCR, to sensitively and specifically detect live Mycobacterium.
Existing diagnostic tools often detect TB infection by sputum from the patients’ lungs, but in fact, about 50% of cases don’t have sputum, especially in some early infected conditions and in kids. To address this, some phage-based pathogen detection methods are proposed to detect Mycobacterium from blood samples, which allows for screening tuberculosis infection in large populations with more easily collected samples. A group of methods for bacteriophages DNA engineering is available, including homologous recombination and CRISPR-Cas-mediated genome engineering. This helps phages detect live pathogens themselves, not the immune response caused by the pathogen, even the disease-causing pathogens present at an extremely low level. This is a breakthrough of the present primary screening tests for bovine TB, such as the single intradermal tuberculin test that works depending on the immune response of the cattle. It means that Mycobacterium could be identified, destroyed, and removed by Mycobacteriophages from the host before disease carriers become more infectious.
Outlook on Bacteriophages as a Tuberculosis diagnostic tool
Human tuberculosis is a global fatal infectious disease only next to COVID-19, and bovine tuberculosis has caused great loss for farmers. Thus, developing assays for early Mycobacterium detection using bacteriophages is getting increasing interest from researchers, biotech companies, and academic institutions. Bacteriophage-based tuberculosis diagnostic tools are expected to be widely applied in the early and sensitive detection of latent tuberculosis infection, advancing the diagnosis and antibacterial treatment for both human and animal tuberculosis.
About Creative Biolabs
Creative Biolabs is an industry leader in the field of phage research, equipped with advanced platforms for phage research and scientists who are qualified in experience, professionalism, and a vast reserve of knowledge. It’s dedicated to providing top-tier services for phage research, including phage identification, small and large-scale phage production, phage purification, phage vaccine development, and phage therapeutics discovery.
Please find more possibility of phages at: https://phagenbio.creative-biolabs.com/