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August 6, 1938

Current Comment

JAMA. 1938;111(6):536. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790320048019

CONTRAINDICATED BACTERIOPHAGE THERAPY  The danger of producing bacteriophage-resistant variants with heightened virulence and tissue invasiveness would seem to contraindicate local bacteriophage therapy in streptococcic infections. This conclusion by Dr. R. R. Madison1 of Stanford University School of Medicine is based on his study of the in vitro effects of bacteriophage on hemolytic streptococci. As a test of this effect, 100 cc. flasks of veal-infusion broth plus 1 cc. of bacteriophage (phage-lysed homologous streptococcus filtrate) were inoculated with 0.1 cc. of a twenty-four hour broth culture of Streptococcus haemolyticus. The rates of population increase and fibrinolysin products were plotted for each flask, control flasks utilizing the same broth minus bacteriophage. During the first six hours the population of each flask increased to nearly 100 million streptococci per cubic centimeter. Lysis then occurred in the bacteriophage-containing flasks, the count falling to about 100 thousand per cubic centimeter as determined by the