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Potential of Bacteriophage Therapy: A Double Edge Sword to Combat COVID-19 and Associated Pulmonary Bacterial Infections

Author(s): Kanika Bhargava, G. Nath, G. K. Aseri and Neelam Jain*
Amity Institute of Microbial Technology, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur 303002, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, 2Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur 303002, India

Correspondence Address:
Neelam Jain, Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur 303002, India, E-mail:

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global health infrastructure and personnel, resulting in enormous misery, deaths and economic stagnation. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome- Coronavirus-2 respiratory infections are frequently worsened by secondary bacterial infections and co-infections due to prolonged hospitalizations; resulting in irreversible lung damage, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and death. The high mortality rate of Coronavirus Disease 2019 patients is primarily due to multi drug resistant microbial (viral/bacterial) infections, unrestrained inflammatory response and delayed antibody production. The superfluous use of broad spectrum antimicrobial drugs as the last resort has further aggravated the Coronavirus Disease 2019 crisis by contributing to the global antimicrobial resistance. To overcome these hurdles for effective treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and associated bacterial infections, phage therapy seems to be promising due to a lack of effective antiviral drugs and antimicrobial-resistant superadded bacterial infections. Prior studies suggest that when phages, their cocktails and endolysins are administered alone or in synergism with antibiotics through nebulization or through intravenous and intraperitoneal injections have exhibited greater antibacterial potential to combat even Multidrug-Resistant pulmonary bacterial infections. Bacteriophages and phagicin have also shown potent antiviral activity by triggering the production of antiviral cytokines. Many studies have also indicated phage mediated antiviral immunity by lowering Nuclear Factor Kappa B activation and reactive oxygen species production. Phage display technique can serve as a promising approach for Coronavirus Disease 2019 vaccine development through production of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 specific antibodies. This review illustrates the potential of phage therapy as a double edged sword to combat both Coronavirus Disease 2019 as well as associated bacterial infections.

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