I have been asked to write a piece about science communication and phage therapy for a special issue of the journal Viruses: Hurdles for Phage Therapy (PT) to Become a Reality. It has been just published. I discuss in it how phage therapy has been communicated since the mid 1990’s when Western scientists became aware of it again after the Iron Curtain came down.
I argue that in terms of communication it has been a special case in science communication. First, there was widespread ignorance about the subject in many important communities: doctors, scientists, regulatory officials, investors, industry, and, of course, in the public as well. Second, phage therapy is experiencing a long period in which its proponents have not been able to bring it back to the markets in the Western world. I discuss shortly in the paper why this so, but concentrate mainly on the point that this entails special dangers for the communication about this discipline: How to raise awareness in the public in a scientific field that needs awareness but does not produce much news for quite some years?
To write the paper a had to do quite some research in the literature and on the web. I am glad since I haven’t had the time to do this for quite a while. I came across quite a few interesting developments in the field. If you are interested in these consider reading the paper. Some of them are discussed there.