Phages for Global Health

Oakland, CA   |  www.phagesforglobalhealth.org

Mission

Phages for Global Health promotes phage technology in the developing world to combat antibiotic resistance.

Ruling year info

2016

Principal Officer

Tobi Nagel

Main address

383 62nd St

Oakland, CA 94618 USA

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EIN

81-1720247

NTEE code info

Health (General and Financing) (E80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Phage Laboratory Training Workshops - East and West Africa

The antibiotic resistance crisis is predicted to cause almost 10 million deaths annually by the year 2050, most of them in developing countries. Phages represent a viable antibacterial technology that can be particularly beneficial in the developing world, since they are active against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, easy to isolate from contaminated environments, relatively inexpensive to produce, and they have been used successfully in certain parts of the world for over 100 years. The Gates Foundation, US National Institutes of Health and others, have identified phages as a key technology that can be utilized to address the antimicrobial resistance problem worldwide. To date, however, only a handful of groups in the developing world have conducted any phage research, and no commercial phage-based products are available in those countries.

We deliver a series of 2-week, hands-on laboratory training workshops through which we teach developing world scientists how to isolate and characterize phages from their own regions. These can eventually be used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food, water, livestock and people, potentially saving thousands of lives, if not millions. Through our first two workshops in 2017 and 2018 we have trained a total of 50 scientists in East Africa, and they have now taught phage biology to more than 300 others through their home institutions. They have also initiated over 20 new phage research projects, including winning 4 grants to support that work. Thus, this knowledge is quickly and relatively easily amplified. We are preparing to deliver two more workshops in 2019, including one in East Africa and our first in West Africa.

Population(s) Served

Campylobacter is the leading bacterial cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, and recent data demonstrates that it is particularly detrimental for children under age two in developing countries (Platts-Mills, 2015). Globally, Kenya has the highest case fatality rate of Campylobacteriosis, with 8.8% of infected people dying, mostly children (The global view of campylobacteriosis, 2013; O'Reilly, 2012). In terms of overall incidence of Campylobacter-associated diarrhea, Egypt has the highest reported rate of any developing country (Rao, 2001). Given that antibiotic resistance rates for Campylobacter are increasing at an alarming rate, alternative biocontrol options are urgently needed. To address this public health issue, we have undertaken to develop bacteriophage (phage) products to decrease Campylobacter levels, specifically targeted for applications in Kenya and in Egypt.

Poultry is a primary source of Campylobacter infection, with one study demonstrating contamination in up to 77% of retail poultry samples in the capital city of Nairobi (Osano, 1999). The bacteria frequently reside in the intestinal tracts of chickens then spread to the surface of meat products during slaughter. Phages targeting other bacterial species, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, are currently approved in North America as spray-applied agents to decontaminate retail food items, including poultry (Naanwaab, 2014). However, no such phage product has yet been applied in Africa, and no phage product targeting Campylobacter is available anywhere in the world. Thus, we aim to develop Campylobacter phages for the decontamination of retail poultry meat in Kenya and Egypt.

Population(s) Served

According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 1.4 - 4.3 million cholera cases and up to 142,000 associated deaths worldwide each year, with children under age 5 being the most impacted. Over the past decade, >60% of the reported cholera cases have occurred in Africa, with the largest percentage of those in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Strikingly, a 2014 study by the National Biomedical Research Institute documented that 76-100% of cholera bacteria isolated in the DRC exhibited resistance to one or more antibiotics. Given this public health crisis, in 2013 the DRC Ministry of Health developed a new national strategy aimed at eliminating cholera – not just controlling it (Muyembe, 2013).

Phages could help fill gaps that are not fully addressed by current cholera prevention strategies. As summarized in our recent publication (Nagel, 2016):

"Phage treatment could be particularly helpful for non-vaccinated populations, since phages could work in parallel with vaccines, beginning to kill intestinal bacteria within hours, while vaccines take weeks to provide full immunological protection. Phages should also be beneficial to immunocompromised individuals, whose immune systems often are not fully responsive to vaccines. And while vaccines require refrigeration, lyophilized phages can be stored at room temperature. Thus, phages could be an effective addition to the arsenal of tools already available to combat cholera outbreaks."

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Financials

Phages for Global Health

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Phages for Global Health

Board of directors
as of 12/13/2018
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Tobi Nagel

Karen Erickson

James Lin

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No