Antibiotics resistance – a big, global challenge
Antibiotic resistance is poised to become one of the greatest dangers of our time. Since its discovery in 1928, antibiotics have been our first line of defense against bacterial infections. Antibiotics have saved countless lives, and made difficult and complex surgeries possible . For half a century we have enjoyed the golden age of antibiotics where we have had no reason to fear bacterial infections. But this golden age is coming to an end. Widespread misuse of antibiotics, coupled with minimal investment in new treatments have allowed pathogenic bacteria to develop resistances to many antibiotics. Our best defense against the bacteria have now created one of our greatest medical threats. 
The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) have confirmed that the United States and the
rest of the world are amid an emerging crisis of antibiotic resistance for microbial pathogens
. In 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that antibiotic resistance is one of the
biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. 
As antibiotics are losing their effect, invasive surgeries such as organ transplants, joint replacements and cardiac surgeries will become difficult and expensive. People undergoing chemotherapy or taking any immunosuppressants will be in a lot more danger of contracting deadly infections. An increasing number of infections, such as pneumonia, gonorrhea and tuberculosis, are becoming difficult to treat because the antibiotics previously used are starting to become less effective . The threat of antibiotic resistance has led to policies for restrictive use of antibiotics, but many countries have already given up the battle against certain antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), common in hospitals. If these policies fail, the need for an alternative will be vital.
Bacteriophages as an alternative to antibiotics
Fortunately, antibiotics are not the only natural enemies of bacteria. Bacteriophages, or phages for short, are tiny, bacteria-specific viruses capable of infecting selected bacteria while leaving other bacteria, as well as animal and plant cells, unharmed. They are one of the most widespread biological units in the biosphere, and exist anywhere bacteria can be found, for instance in soil, water and animal intestines. In nature there is a continuous battle between phages and bacteria, with the consequence that for every bacterium there probably exists one bacteriophage capable of killing it. Bacteriophages might therefore be an interesting topic to look into in the search for alternatives to antibiotics.
The bacteriophages were discovered in the beginning of the 20th century, and scientists early
suggested using them to counter bacterial infections. With the discovery of antibiotics, however,
scientists in the Western world lost the interest in bacteriophages, and the research on phages
was primarily conducted in the Soviet union, especially in what is now the country of Georgia.
During the second world war, Soviet soldiers used bacteriophages as treatment for infections,
and there still exists a phage therapy center in Tbilisi, Georgia today . Phage therapy had
a bad reputation for a long time, mostly because of poor documentation and research methods,
but currently, under the threat of antibiotic resistance, the interest in bacteriophages is
rising once again.
Phage therapy does however have several issues to be ironed out before becoming a mainstream medical treatment. One major stumbling block for phage therapy is the high host specificity of phages. Most phages can only infect certain strains of a bacterial species. This creates the need for either large libraries of potential phages, or a quick method of developing a phage capable of fighting a given bacterial infection. In order to solve this problem, our project attempts to investigate the latter method.
 Golkar, Z., Bagasra, O., Pace, D. G. (2014). Bacteriophage therapy: a potential solution for the antibiotic resistance crisis. J infect Dev Ctries, 8(2), 129-136. doi: 10.3855/jidc.3573
 Infectious Diseases Society of America (2004) Bad bugs, no drugs: as antibiotic discovery stagnates, a public health crisis brews. Alexandria, Infectious Diseases Society of America. Available at http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/04s0233/04s-0233-c000005-03-IDSA-vol1.pdf
 World Health Organization (2017). Antibiotic resistance. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/antibiotic-resistance/en/
 Phage therapy center (2000-2017). Available at: https://www.phagetherapycenter.com/pii/PatientServlet?command=static_home
 Sulakvelidze, A., Alavidze, Z., Morris, J. G. (2001). Bacteriophage Therapy. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 45(3), 649-659. doi: 10.1128/AAC.45.3.649-659.2001