How is eligibility for compassionate use determined?
Eligibility for compassionate use phage therapy is assessed by the treating doctor. If they believe that the patient has an infection that might be treatable by phage therapy, they will discuss this with other independent senior doctors on the hospital’s committee. The patient’s medical history, other treatment options and suitability for phage therapy will all be considered.
If the patient is deemed to be a suitable candidate for phage therapy, doctors obtain a small sample of the bacteria causing the infection and have it tested in the laboratory to determine if there are any phages available that target it.
If phages are identified, the doctors will let the patient know and ask if they would like to receive phage therapy. A number of regulatory approvals will then need to be obtained to allow for treatment of the patient, but these are processed as high priority because the patient is typcially very ill. Once approval is granted the laboratory will be able to scale up production of this phage so that there will be enough of it to treat the bacterial infection. The phage preparation is then cleaned so that it is suitable to be administered to humans.
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