During July 2019, Phages for Global Health delivered a laboratory training workshop in West Africa, which was hosted in Ghana and included participants from 6 countries throughout the region. Only one participant came from Senegal: Issa N'Diaye, who is a researcher at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar. Issa is now doing his doctoral thesis on phages, and he recently received a grant through the French Embassy in Senegal, which enabled him to spend 3 months at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, working in the laboratory of phage expert Dr. Laurent Debarbieux.
Issa’s thesis research focuses on isolating and testing phages that kill multidrug-resistant bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections in people, such as pneumonia and sepsis. Those bacteria include Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumanii, both of which are on the World Health Organization's top priority list of dangerous pathogens. Indeed, many strains of those bacteria are now resistant to so-called “last resort” antibiotics — ones that are reserved for treating bacteria that cannot be killed by any other types of antibiotics. This research is urgently important, since 90% of the deaths from antibiotic resistance will occur in Africa and Asia and alternatives to traditional antibiotics are desperately needed.
Laurent leads a very active research group at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, where some of the first work on phage therapy was conducted more than 100 years ago. Laurent also co-founded the French Phage Network in 2015, which held its 7th annual meeting during the time that Issa was in Paris — another great opportunity for collaboration and learning. Please join us in celebrating and supporting the work of Laurent, Issa and many others in the global phage community.
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