Infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms pose a significant threat to Service Member readiness and lethality in both operational and conventional healthcare environments. The threat of MDRO has increased in recent years with the excessive and inappropriate use of prescription antibiotics, rendering many available antibiotics ineffective against the most virulent bacterial pathogens. USAMRD-G scientists actively study bacteriophages and viruses that target specific types of bacteria and is partnering with Georgian national clinician-scientist to research and develop novel therapeutics to counter this MDRO threat.

Bacteriophages, or viruses that kill bacteria, are one potential solution to this problem. Bacteriophage are standard care for treating infections in Eastern Europe, but are not recognized by Western medicine due to lack of evidence-based clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy. However, as the global threat of MDRO expands, the U.S. Department of Defense’s interest in bacteriophage therapy has intensified. Currently, USAMRD-G is part of a multisite protocol for the development of fixed and modularized bacteriophage cocktails to treat combat trauma-associated infections caused by MDRO ESKAPE+ pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species and Escherichia coli). USAMRD-G is also expanding its footprint to include a bacteriophage-harvesting laboratory, giving it the ability to isolate and characterize bacteriophages that target relevant bacterial MDROs in the European Command area of responsibility.