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Antimicrobial resistance is a current global health crisis, and the increasing emergence of multidrug resistant infections has led to the resurgent interest in bacteriophages as an alternative treatment. Prior to clinical application, phage suitability is assessed, via susceptibility testing and breadth of host range to bacteriophage, however, these are both large-scale manual processes and labor-intensive. The aim of the study was to establish and validate a scaled down methodology for high-throughput screening to reduce procedural footprint. In this paper, we describe a scaled-down adapted methodology that can successfully screen bacteriophages, isolated and purified from wastewater samples. Furthermore, we describe a miniaturized host range assay against clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates using a spot test (2 μL/ drop) that was found to be both sensitive (94.6%) and specific (94.7%). It also demonstrated a positive predictive value (PPV) of 86.4% and negative predictive value (NPV) of 98%. The breadth of host range of bacteriophages that exhibited lytic activity on P. aeruginosa isolates was corroborated using the scaled down assay. The high correlation achieved in this study confirms miniaturization as the first step in future automation that could test phage diversity and efficacy as antimicrobials.

Authors: Ng RN, Grey LJ, Vaitekenas A, McLean SA, Rudrum JD, Laucirica DR, Poh MW, Hillas J, Winslow SG, Iszatt JJ, Iosifidis T, Tai AS, Agudelo-Romero P, Chang BJ, Stick SM, Kicic A; AREST CF.