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An Infectious Cure


Author(s)

Dustin J. Eno
Life Sciences
Quest University Canada
Annie Prud’homme-Genereux
Continuing Studies and Executive Education
Capilano University
anniepg@capilanou.ca

Abstract

This four-part interrupted case on phage therapy was developed for a freshmen non-majors course in molecular biology. The case begins with a story inspired by real events where Europeans imposed a treatment for cholera on the unwilling population of an Indian village in the 1920s. Students are introduced to treatments for bacterial infection and discuss the appropriateness of imposing a medical treatment on a population. They also learn about the anatomy and life cycle of bacteriophages, evaluate the risks associated with using live agents as treatments, and compare the relative advantages and disadvantages associated with antibiotics and phage therapy. The case would be appropriate for use in non-majors courses in biology, microbiology, bioethics, or public health. Suggestions for modifying the case for biology majors are provided in the teaching notes.


Objectives

  • Describe the anatomy and life cycle of bacteriophages.
  • Deduce the implications of using live agents capable of replication as a form of treatment.
  • Assess the health risks of using phage therapy to treat bacterial infections.
  • Compare and contrast the use of antibiotics and bacteriophages for the treatment of bacterial infections.
  • Weigh the personal and public concerns in selecting treatments that impact the health of a population.

Keywords

Phage therapy; bacteriophage; virus; bacteria; antibiotic resistance; cholera; infectious disease; India

Topical Areas

Ethics, Policy issues, Regulatory issues, Social issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Discussion, Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Molecular Biology  |   Evolutionary Biology  |   Microbiology  |   Public Health  |   Pharmacy / Pharmacology  |   Medicine (General)  |   Biochemistry  |  


Date Posted

10/17/2011

Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

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