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Phage-based Assays for Epidemiological and Clinical Diagnostics

Creative Biolabs is an innovative biotechnology company specializing in phage research. Our experts have sufficient knowledge about the construction and application of phage detection systems. We focus on providing comprehensive phage-based assay services for epidemiological pathogen diagnosis, including but not limited to phage typing, phage replication assays, and labeled phage-related assays.


Pathogens cause widespread morbidity and mortality and pose a global health threat. The emergence of drug resistance in bacterial pathogens has attracted widespread attention. Increased drug resistance and reduced drug treatment options underscore the need for rapid and effective diagnostics to curb the spread of bacterial pathogens. Culture is the most common technique for bacterial detection and resistance analysis. However, this method is not suitable for the diagnosis of slower-growing bacteria. Although molecular methods offer a rapid alternative to culture, their application is limited by multiple factors, such as cost and infrastructure. In recent years, phages have provided a promising solution for bacterial detection.

Phage-based Assays for Epidemiological and Clinical Diagnostics

  • Phage typing

Phage typing has played an important role in detecting clinically relevant bacterial pathogens for decades. In phage typing, cultures of unknown bacteria are spread on medium plates and different phage solutions are added to determine which phages have infected bacteria. Phage typing is still used today, and phage libraries can be used for the epidemiological identification of many microbial pathogens, including Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus anthracis, and other pathogens closely linked to human health.

Phage typing.Fig.1 Phage typing. (Van der Merwe, 2014)

  • Phage replication assays

Phage replication assays for the detection of M. tuberculosis are based on phages capable of infecting the slow-growing M. tuberculosis and the fast-growing Mycobacterium smegmatis. In this assay, samples of M. tuberculosis were incubated with phage, treated with an antiviral agent to kill excess mycobacterial phage, and then spread on M. smegmatis lawns. Lysophage replication, indicative of M. tuberculosis in the original sample, was detected by plaque formation. The advantage of phage replication assays is that they only detect live cells, which makes them less prone to false positive cases.

  • Fluorescent labeling phage

One way to visualize phages is fluorescent labeling, which can be done using many of the commercially available dyes for nucleic acid labeling. Fluorescently labeled genomes confer luminescent properties to the phage, which can be visualized under a fluorescence microscope or detected by flow cytometry. After attaching to bacterial cells, the glowing phages outline the cells with fluorescent dots, thereby marking them as members of the phage's host range.

Common Pathogens

The following table lists the most common pathogenic species that cause global health problems.

Targeted pathogen Sample matrix Method
Mycobacterium tuberculosis Sputum Reporter gene
Yersinia pestis Blood Phage amplification
Staphylococcus aureus Blood Phage amplification
E. coli Urine Reporter gene

Creative Biolabs is a world-leading biotechnology company that has been at the forefront of phage development and detection for many years. At Creative Biolabs, our team of highly qualified and experienced technicians will work with you to develop and deliver detection and analytical solutions that add value to your projects. We can offer a variety of detection options such as Nature Phage-based Bacterial Pathogen Detection and Reporter Phage-based Bacterial Pathogen Detection. Please contact us for more information and detailed quotation.


  1. Van der Merwe, R. G.; et al. Phage-based detection of bacterial pathogens. Analyst. 2014, 139(11): 2617-2626.
For Research Use Only. Do NOT use in humans.

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