‘Bacteriophages’, a Game Changer in COVID-19
The Indirect Cause of Mortality in Covid-19
The journal ‘Phage’ recently published a review suggesting the use of bacteriophages in patients with severe Covid-19. According to the review, the indirect cause of mortality in patients with Covid-19 is due to miscommunication between the innate and adaptive immune systems. The adaptive immune response takes much longer than the innate immune response to begin effectively attacking a new pathogen. This means there is a period when only the innate immune system is fighting Covid-19 virus, and in this period, the innate immune responses can become too aggressive when faced with a high virus load.
Side Effects of Aggressive Innate Immune Responses
The innate immune system secretes inflammatory material (fluid and inflammatory cells) into the lungs to attack the virus. As a result, the lungs become filled with fluid reducing the body’s ability to exchange gases. Then, the debris of dying and virally infected human respiratory cells become a substrate for bacteria growth, and the bacteria cause the innate immune system to secrete additional inflammatory material in nearby alveoli. This inflammatory fluid to the lungs can cause sepsis and death.
Symptoms and Secondary Bacterial Infection in Covid-19
It has been reported that the human body becomes susceptible to bacterial infection when infected with flu, and there have been cases of co-infection of viruses and bacteria in other types of viruses. A recent review suggests that bacterial infections, including Acinetobacter baumanii and Klebsiella pneumoniae, have been documented in Covid-19 patients. Also, a recent report from Wuhan shows that at least 50% of patients dying developed secondary infections. Therefore, at least part of the mortality of Covid-19 could contribute to bacterial infection of the respiratory system.
Bacteriophages – A Direct Weapon Against Bacteria
By reducing the bacterial growth rate in the respiratory system of a patient, the additional time needed for the human body’s adaptive immune system to produce specific antibodies could be gained. Although this goal could be achieved by antibiotics, the overuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Currently, around 70% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients worldwide receive antibiotics as part of their treatment. This raises the danger of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike antibiotics, bacteriophage treatments would be far less susceptible to the development of resistances and are harmless to human and safe.
Bacteriophage Display Techniques for Host Antibody Production
The delayed production of antibodies to the virus is very dangerous, especially for older people with Covid-19. However, phage display technique have the potential to quickly produce recombinant antibodies. This technique of producing antibodies was developed for MERS-CoV and successfully applied. The use of phage display techniques to create synthetic antibodies that target SARS-CoV-2 in the early stages of infection can be helpful to the older patients whose immune functions are impaired.
iNtRON’s PHAGERUS® Technology
iNtRON is developing itLysin® technology targeting bacteria and PHAGERUS® technology targeting viruses based on the global level of bacteriophage and endolysin technology that are the basis of our pipelines.
Through these, iNtRON will evolve into a “Global R&BD” company with all-round anti-infection platform technology that can quickly respond to secondary infections not only for general virus and bacterial infection patients, but also for severe patients with reduced immunity due to viral infection, such as Covid-19.
it is iNtRON.
Bacteriophages Could Be a Potential Game Changer in the Trajectory of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Marcin W. Wojewodzic.PHAGE.Jun 2020.60-65.