Jim West queried whether bacteriophages are a proven entity.
The core of his querying was:
>I am skeptical of phage as virus theory, because, there is a parallel, HIV.
Earlier, Stuart Newman had given us an impeccable summary:
> >>From: Stuart Newman <[log in to unmask]>
>>>Sent: Sep 6, 2010 5:34 PM
>>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>>Subject: Re: Phage Therapy
>>>There is a confusion here, Mitchel. Marcophages are cells of the animal
>>>(e.g., human) immune system which scavenge debris, including bacteria
>>>that have been killed by antibiotics or are bound to antibodies produced
>>>by plasma cells. They are entirely different from bacteriophages, which
>>>are viruses directed against bacteria and not endogenous to the immune
>>>system. Bacteriophage therapy was what the character Arrowsmith was
>>>studying, what the Russians greatly advanced, and what is attracting
>>>increasing interest from mainstream medical science, e.g.,
Not having been directly involved in the disputes on this
list about HIV or about (bacterio)phages, let me now confirm what
Stuart wrote. As for whether phages have ever been isolated or
properly, unambiguously observed, I was in the field of molecular
biology when these babies were a centre of attention. I would say
that the biological category 'bacteriophage' is practically as clear
& confirmed as 'bacteria'. For any who doubt, perhaps the famous
Meselson/Stahl expt will help - a glimpse of how well understood
these things were, 4 decades ago. There is no scientific doubt that
these viruses of bacteria are real, and many of them have been
characterised in great detail.
Whether some of them will enter medical practice as
therapeutic agents is less clear, as shown by the review Stuart
referred us to.
But whether phages are real is not in doubt.