Antibiotic Resistance & Bacteriophage Therapy, India

Department of Bio-Medical Sciences, School of Bio Sciences and Technology,

Vellore Institute of Technology-VIT, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

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12 - 13 Dec '19

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About our conference in Phage directory's Capsid and Tail - A Weekly Phage Periodical

Welcome to our Bacteriophage Therapy lab India!

Our Research Areas

Antibiotic Resistance

Bacterial infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria are responsible for high morbidity and mortality in clinical settings. Many infections that would have been cured easily in the past by antibiotics are now resistant, resulting in sicker patients and longer hospitalization. The economic impact of antibiotic-resistant infections is found to be very high all over the world.

Our lab is currently focusing on the rising antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria in the clinical samples, with particular focus on the WHO listed priority pathogens (ESKAPE).

Our group is working on Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), mechanism of Colistin resistance among Gram-negative bacteria, emerging tigecycline resistance in Klebsiella, heteroresistance pattern in Klebsiella pneumoniae by whole genome analysis, studies on the appearance of persister cells in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, resistant pattern in MRSA and on their sub-lineage infections.

Important findings from our lab includes; first study to report the emergence of DIM-1 carbapenemase among P. aeruginosa in India (J Global Antimicrobial Resistance, 2018), first report for the emergence of NDM producer in clinical isolates of E. hormaechei and P. rettgeri in India (J Chemother, 2016), emergence of OXA-181 among Gram-negative bacteria in South India (J Chemother, 2016) and for the first time we report the emergence of NDM-1 and OXA-30 genes within class-1 integron gene cassette regions in Escherichia coli (J Med Microbiol, 2017). Also, we report in first of the rare and emerging opportunistic pathogen Ochrobactrum intermedium encoding the OXA-181 gene in its plasmid. (Access Microbiology, 2019).

Detection of NDM-1, VIM-1 and AIM-type metallo-beta-lactamase genes in Gram-negative bacteria isolated from clinical samples in Tamil Nadu (preprint). Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance Genes from Gram-positive Bacterium to Gram-negative Bacterium (J Chemother, 2021).

Phage therapy

Due to developing antibiotic resistance, there has been a renewed interest in finding alternative treatment options; Phage therapy is one such alternative to combat the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Phage therapy is the use of live bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections. The discovery of phages that seemed to eat bacteria is generally attributed to Twort and d’Herelle in the early 20th century. The use of bacteriophages in therapy is halted in 1940s after the discovery of antibiotics but developing resistance has allowed renewing this age-old therapy (Phage).

Our phage group works on, isolation and therapeutic characterization of bacteriophages infecting Gram-negative bacteria particularly Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Salmonella typhi, Gram-positive bacteria on Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp., and Mycobacterium species. Our group also works on characterization of bacteriophage derived endolysins as a therapeutical option in chronic infections. Bacteriophage as an alternative therapeutical option in aqua culture infections and an in vivo study models in zebra fish is also under study.

Some notable findings from our phage research includes; whole genome sequence and analysis of Escherichia phage (Accession numbers: MG976803, MG983840), Klebsiella phage (Accession numbers: MG972768) and Enterobacter phage (Accession numbers: MG999954). Frontiers in Microbiology, 2019 (genomic characterization of lytic bacteriophages infecting Escherichia, Klebsiella and Enterobacter), Plos One, 2018 (Therapeutic characterization of Escherichia phage) and BMC Microbiology, 2018 (In vivo therapeutic potential of bacteriophages), Scientific Reports, 2019 (Improved lyophilization for long term storage of bacteriophage), Virus Research, 2020 (Characterization and genome analysis of B1 sub-cluster mycobacteriophage PDRPxv).

Frontiers in Medicine, 2021 (Secondary Bacterial Infections in Patients with Viral Pneumonia), Frontiers in Microbiology, 2021 (Secondary Bacterial Infections During Pulmonary Viral Disease: Phage Therapeutics as Alternatives to Antibiotics?) Human Microbiome Journal (Reduced Metagenomic Sequencing (RMS) Approach to Determine the Gut- Associated Phageome in Mother-Child), International Journal of Bacteriophage Research, 2021 (Morphological characterization techniques for the isolation of virulent bacteriophages from environmental sources, Effect of phage lifestyle on the plaque morphology, Assessing the efficacy of phage-cocktail and phage-antibiotic combinations against Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli using a Galleria mellonela infection model)

Our lab is currently maintaining a phage library for 11 different bacterial genera, such as E.coli, Klebsiella sp, Pseudomonas sp, Enterobacter sp., Acinetobacter sp., Serratia sp., Citrobacter sp., Salmonella sp., Mycobacterium smegmatis, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus sp.

Inventors in the Field

Sir Alexander Fleming1881 - 1955
Dr. Frederick Twort1877 - 1950
Dr. Félix d'Herelle1873 - 1949
Dr. Ernest Hanbury Hankin1865- 1939