Screening of anorectal and oropharyngeal samples fails to detect bacteriophages infecting Neisseria gonorrhoeae

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Abstract

There are real concerns that Neisseria gonorrhoeae may become untreatable in the near future due to the rapid emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Alternative therapies are thus urgently required. Bacteriophages active against N. gonorrhoeae could play an important role as an antibiotic-sparing therapy. To the best of our knowledge, no bacteriophages active against N. gonorrhoeae have ever been found. The aim of this study was to screen for bacteriophages able to lyse N. gonorrhoeae in oropharyngeal and anorectal swabs of 74 men who have sex with men attending a sexual health clinic in Antwerp, Belgium. We screened 210 swabs but were unable to identify an anti-gonococcal bacteriophage. This is the first report of a pilot screening that systematically searched for anti-gonococcal phages directly from clinical swabs. Further studies may consider screening for phages at other anatomical sites (e.g., stool samples, urine) or in environmental settings (e.g., toilet sewage water of sex clubs or sexually transmitted infection clinics) where N. gonorrhoeae can be found.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAntibiotics-Basel
Volume11
Issue number2
ISSN2079-6382
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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