Microorganisms. 2021 Mar 22;9(3):660. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9030660.
Antibiotic treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) in cystic fibrosis is limited in efficacy and may lead to multi-drug resistance (MDR). Alternatives such as bacteriophages are being explored but well designed, and controlled trials are crucial. The rational selection of patients with bacteriophage susceptible infections is required for both safety and efficacy monitoring. We questioned whether bacteriophage susceptibility profiles were constant or variable over time, variability having been reported with antibiotics. Serial Pa isolates (n = 102) from 24 chronically infected cystic fibrosis (CF) patients over one year were investigated with plaque and antibiotic disc diffusion assays. Variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis identified those patients with >1 isolate. A median (range) of 4 (3-6) isolates/patient were studied. Twenty-one (87.5%) individuals had a single VNTR type; three (12.5%) had two VNTR types at different times. Seventy-five percent of isolates were sensitive to bacteriophage at ≥ 1 concentration; 50% of isolates were antibiotic multidrug resistant. Serial isolates, even when representing a single VNTR type, varied in sensitivity to both bacteriophages and antibiotics. The rates of sensitivity to bacteriophage supports the development of this therapy; however, the variability in response has implications for the selection of patients in future trials which must be on the basis of current, not past, isolate testing.