Described as “fascinating and terrifying” by Scientific American, Steffanie Strathdee’s book “The Perfect Predator: A Scientists Race to Save Her Husband From a Deadly Super Bug” Hachette 2019, is the story of one woman’s extraordinary effort to save her husband’s life-and the discovery of a forgotten treatment that has the potential to save many more. Epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, psychologist Tom Patterson, were vacationing in Egypt when Tom came down with a stomach bug. What at first seemed like a case of food poisoning quickly turned critical, and by the time Tom had been transferred via emergency medevac to the world-class medical center at UC San Diego, blood work revealed why modern medicine was failing: Tom was fighting a dangerous, antibiotic- resistant bacterial infection. Back in San Diego, Tom’s condition initially improved; then reversed. He fell into a coma. Steffanie combed through research old and new and came across phage therapy: the idea that the right virus, “the perfect predator,” can kill even the most lethal bacteria. Phage treatment had fallen out of favor almost 100 years ago, after antibiotic use went mainstream. With time running out, Steffanie appealed to phage researchers all over the world for help. With the help of allies at the FDA, researchers from Texas A&M, and a Navy biomedical center they resurrected phage therapy and cured the infection. Here is a link to the details of the Patterson case LINK
According to NIAID, each year in the U.S. at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die annually as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from complications of antibiotic-resistant infections NIH/NIAID Could bacteriophage become the next new class of biologics and transform the treatment of antibiotic resistant infections?