Contact: Beverly Volpe
Patient Safety Authority PR Representative
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A mighty weapon against superbugs within reach reports PATIENT SAFETY


Harrisburg, PA – June 17, 2021 – More and more, patients are suffering from bacterial infections that no longer respond to antibiotics (“superbugs”), and the problem has worsened under COVID-19. Superbugs are expected to kill one person every three seconds by 2050. But hope is on the horizon with a powerful weapon called bacteriophages.    

In the June issue of Patient Safety, infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Steffanie Strathdee of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD) shares how bacteriophages (phages) saved her husband’s life and discusses their promise as an alternative to antibiotics. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has begun funding clinical trials of phages, one of which will launch at UCSD’s new Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH).

The problem is escalating because antibiotics are being misused and overused, generating resistance, she explains.

“Everyone should be aware of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance,” says Dr.  Strathdee. “Certainly, if a physician prescribes antibiotics, you should be using it as directed and not stopping once you start feeling better. That can breed resistance.

“About 70% of all antibiotics that are used in the U.S. and many other countries are used in agriculture, not in patient care. Cutting back on how much meat you eat or choosing antibiotic-free meat will also make an impact.”

Other topics in the June issue of Patient Safety include:

  • Five weeks later: when the critical care physician becomes the critical care patient – “I'm coming home.” Colorado critical care physician Michael Leonard’s last words before falling into a five-week coma battling COVID-19.  
  • Challenges and potential solutions for patient safety in an infectious-agent- isolation environment - As the worst of the pandemic seems increasingly behind us, a look back on lessons learned from patients in isolation. 
  • The surgical safety huddle: a novel quality improvement patient safety initiative - A surgical team in Ireland expanded upon an existing concept—and achieved remarkable success.  

Patient Safety is the peer-reviewed journal of the Patient Safety Authority. A scientific publication, Patient Safety humanizes patient harm with stories, opinion pieces, and magazine-quality design. It has a readership of more than 45,000 people in 164 countries.



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