Rapid Detection of Superbugs Using Phages

Drug-resistant bacterial pathogens have a significant impact on human and animal life and health. With the current decrease in antibiotic effectiveness, there is an urgent need for effective diagnostic methods to detect drug-resistant bacterial pathogens. Phages offer a unique opportunity for superbug detection.

Conventional culture diagnostics are often time-consuming and not suitable for immediate use. This is not beneficial for early treatment. Given the unique cellular sensitivity characteristics of phages, they can be used to create an effective identification method for drug-resistant bacteria. Ace Therapeutics offers services for the development of reporter phage-based superbug detection systems that take advantage of their rapid and sensitive properties making them ideal tools for detecting drug-resistant bacteria.

Phage-Based Pathogen Detection

Phages are viruses that are prevalent in the environment where they infect specific bacterial hosts. Therefore, using the ability of phages to specifically target specific strains of bacteria, it may serve as an effective solution against drug-resistant bacterial infections. Also, phages can be used to create specific detectors for bacterial detection.

Thus, the use of phages as superbug cell recognition elements is a very promising diagnostic approach. Phage particles are able to specifically recognize surface receptors on host bacterial cells and bind, leading to early and rapid detection and identification of drug-resistant pathogens.

Phage based pathogen detection.Fig. 1 Phage based pathogen detection. (Paczesny J, et al., 2020)

Phage Assay Services of Superbugs

Bacteriophages are powerful tools for identifying and fighting drug-resistant bacteria. Because of their narrow host range and the constant emergence of new drug-resistant variants, the search for and development of phages is advantageous for the effective identification of drug-resistant bacterial infections.

We offer a variety of phage assays for the rapid, sensitive and specific detection of bacterial cells, mainly including the multidrug-resistant (MDR), extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and pan drug-resistant (PDR) phenotypes, such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, etc. We consider how phages can be used to provide unique features that can provide a simple solution for superbug detection. Specific testing services include but are not limited to,

  • Bacteriophage typing for diagnosis of bacterial types
  • Bacteriophage replication assays for detection of drug resistance
  • Bacteriophage lysis host assay
  • Engineering report phage construction

Engineering Platform for Phage Generation

we can construct reporter proteins that can be overexpressed within the bacterial host for immediate detection, providing a more sensitive diagnostic assay than relying on phage lysis alone. It is critical to address the question of how to design reporter phages. We help you screen and isolate representative phages infecting target drug-resistant bacteria, select reporter genes and assays appropriate for the target bacteria and environment, and adjust reporter gene expression to ensure subsequent detection. For the construction of engineered phages, we offer the following platform technologies.

  • Direct cloning
  • Homologous recombination combined with CRISPR-Cas selection
  • Synthetic genome rebooting

With the phage construction platform, we are ultimately committed to helping you achieve the detection of drug-resistant bacteria, which can be based on the following protocols.

  • Bioluminescence-based assays
  • Colorimetric-based assays
  • Electrochemical-based assays
  • Fluorescence-based assays
  • Other assays

Ace Therapeutics is a biotechnology company, specializing in superbug research. Please feel free to contact us for development assistance in identifying superbugs using phages, and we will make sure your company or research facility's project goes smoothly.


  1. Paczesny J, et al. Recent Progress in the Detection of Bacteria Using Bacteriophages: A Review. Viruses, 2020; 12(8):845.
  2. Meile S, et al. Reporter Phage-Based Detection of Bacterial Pathogens: Design Guidelines and Recent Developments. Viruses, 2020; 12(9):944.
All of our services are intended for preclinical research use only and cannot be used to diagnose, treat or manage patients.
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