This is a science/biotech book everyone should read. It reminded me books I read when I was in school about science discoveries, Columbus, Cook, Laperouse voyages to new World, discovery of photosynthesis.
Anna Kuchment did a superb job by putting together a succinct story about bacteriophages. This is a personal story about scientists who contributed to the discovery of bacteriophages, story of scientists who strongly believed in medical significance of this tiny viruses, who defended and kept alive science and practical applications behind phages, even though frequently it seemed if the whole world was against them.
Phages are tiny viruses which target bacteria. Phages are everywhere, including our bodies. Each phage is specific for certain bacteria only. Such selectivity of phages positioned them as a very important alternative to antibiotics. Moreover, in many occasions, phages show superior anti-bacterial activity in hard to treat bacterial infections in human, including against antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. And on the top of that, phage therapy is almost without any side-effects whatsoever. It is quite mind boggling that FDA did not find yet a courage to approve phages for human therapy (it is approved as a food "sterilization" method). But therapeutic application of phages will come too. We can't continue ignoring this vast resource of mostly "friendly" viruses.
posted by David Usharauli