Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Not so compassionate, eh!

In an article entitled ‘Viral Agent - A forgotten weapon for the post-antibiotic era’, The Walrus, July/Aug., p. 21, (2014)  Lisa Jutras, ( ) noted: “In Canada, an estimated twenty-two patients die every day from hospital-acquired infections, while many more are left with chronic illnesses that destroy their quality of life”. Jutra’s article concludes with the discouraging quote: “For now, sick Canadians must rely on expensive international travel to find relief. It is an irony to which wary socialist Félix d’Herelle would have been exquisitely attuned”.  The article goes on to detail that we have known how to treat some, perhaps even most, antibiotic-resistant superbug infections since before antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections and also describes that it was the French-Canadian microbiologist, Felix d’Herelle, working at the Pasteur Institute,  in 1917 who coined the name bacteriophage and experimented with the possibility of phage therapy – he subsequently worked all over the world, including Russia, Tbilisi, Georgia, where his efforts survive to this day in the form of the Phage Therapy Center ( ) that treats patients from all over the world (For his work, d’Herelle was made a laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame - ). If you or a member of your family became a victim of such an antibiotic-resistant superbug infection, would you know what to do to try and promote a cure or prolong life after all antibiotic treatments have failed? I am reasonably sure that Queen Elizabeth would know what to do – she might request that doctors use phages to treat the infection as you might also conclude if you look at the picture of a friend (by Internet) who is telling the Queen about phage therapy ( ). You can also note from this webpage that there will be a workshop in Poland on phage therapy later this month at the location where sick Canadians could travel to for treatments for superbug infections – specifically it is the  Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, ( ). (It would be nice if a Canadian journalist attended and reported from that workshop!) Considering our close relationship with Poland, I believe we should approach them for assistance to establish 'The Superbug Victim Felix d'Herelle Memorial Center for Experimental and Compassionate Phage Therapy' to provide phage therapy to Canadian patients when antibiotics fail or when patients are allergic to antibiotics. This would be a rather timely action considering the very recent publication of an article in Future Microbiology, vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 685-688, ( )  entitled Re-establishing a place for phage therapy in Western medicine.

Meanwhile Canadians will continue to suffer from superbug infections at the rate noted above while many Canadians know that the superbug issue is to some extend a myth (using the same treatment method and expecting different outcomes) or to put it another way: It is not easy being a superbug in a country where all medical professionals know how to use phage therapy when needed. While phage therapy is not currently "approved" in Canada, that does not mean it cannot be used since there are both national (special access program) and international regulatory provisions for legal use - example:


Declaration of Helsinki,

“In the treatment of a patient, where proven prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic methods do not exist or have been ineffective, the physician, with informed consent from the patient, must be free to use unproven or new prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic measures, if in the physician's judgement it offers hope of saving life, re-establishing health or alleviating suffering. Where possible, these measures should be made the object of research, designed to evaluate their safety and efficacy. In all cases, new information should be recorded and, where appropriate, published. The other relevant guidelines of this Declaration should be followed.”

Several European countries, including Poland, Germany and France, appear to be availing themselves of the compassionate use provisions to cure superbug infections when antibiotics fail as can be seen from various articles and videos on the Internet. Or as Horen Wetmore notes in an article entitled: ‘A Cure Exists For Antibiotic-Resistant Infections. So Why Are Thousands Of Americans Still Dying’, Prevention, Jan.1, 2015, ( ) on a patient who travelled to the Phage Therapy Center for treatment.

Considering that antibiotic-resistance has been identified as a threat to modern medicine as many of our new sophisticated medical procedures cannot be accomplished without prophylactic or curative applications of antibiotics, will you ask your candidates ‘what their party will do about the antibiotic-resistance crisis’ if they form the next government or will you be a passive bystander hoping that you or your family members will never need such treatments – remember antibiotic-resistant pathogens do not discriminate!


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