Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Active Treatment


Phage therapy during which adequate therapeutic phage titers are achieved both due to and dependent on phage population growth that occurs over the course of antibacterial treatment.

Also described as active phage therapy, active treatment more or less by definition means that the number of phages added to target bacteria is insufficient to alone result in complete destruction of a bacterial culture. Also by definition the process of active treatment is not accessible to phages that can kill bacteria but not themselves replicate. Contrast passive treatment.

Active treatment also can be used to describe phage penetration to target bacterial populations or into bacterial biofilms, which can also involve active phage replication. I use the term "active penetration" to describe the latter process.

Active treatment is dependent on infections being both lytic and productive. Active treatment is also dependent on there being (1) bacterial hosts present in sufficient densities to support phage population growth in situ, (2) sufficiently rapid phage population growth, and (3) phage population growth to sufficient densities to result in destruction of the bacterial population. Similarly, sufficiently large phage burst sizes, sufficiently rapid phage adsorption, and sufficiently short phage latent periods are also relevant to successful active treatment.

From Gill and Young (2011), p. 401: "A model of phage therapy characterized by lower initial phage dosages, requiring active replication of the phage at the site of infection to generate enough phage to eradicate the bacterial population. In contrast to inundative therapy."

For addition discussion of the concept of active phage therapy as well as additional references, see Abedon and Thomas-Abedon (2010) (click on link to publisher page, i.e., Bentham Direct, then click "View", and then click on "Full Text"; finally, click on "Download").


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