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The first report about bacteriophages was made by Hankin in 1890-th. The scientists fixed antibacterial potential of the waters of Ganges in India. In 1915 British bacteriologist Frederick Twort isolated viruses, which can destroy bacterias. In 1917 D’Herele find ‘ a virus parasitic to bacteria’. He called the virus bacteriophage bacteria-eater (Phago in greek means to eat).

At the same time Georgian microbiologist George Eliava was observing the same phenomenon. Something was destroying bacteria of cholera in the river Mtkvari (Kura). In 1920-1921 George Eliava was sent to the Pasteur’s Institute where he met Felix d’Herele  and became familiar with his works. Later they became close friends. 



Since 1920-th D’Herele was closely cooperating with George Eliava. He liked Soviet governments initiative of supporting the science. D’Herele worked in India where he was producing the preparations of bacteriophages and used those preparations for preventive measures mainly for the purification of water and infected areas: springs and wells. Big quantities of preparations he was sending to Soviet Union to treat Red Army.
D'Herele and Eliava George Eliava


Treatment of Dysinteria in Georgia in 1930-th

Bacteriophages, Historical Suevey 1923-2004

Felix D’herele and Eliava developed a project on establishing the world center of bacteriophages research in Georgia. The center should have been equipped clinics.

In 1920-th George Eliava went to Moscow with an idea of establishing in Georgia the institute, which will study the phenomenon of bacteriophages. He met Sergo Orjonikidze the Minister of Heavy Industry of the USSR. In 1923 George Eliava established  the Institute of Bacteriophages in Tbilisi under the Commissariat of Health Protection of Georgia.

In 1934 D’Herele visited Georgia. In 1937 George Eliava was arrested by former Soviet secret police- “Cheka”, as a spy. Later he was imprisoned and died there. D’ Herele was also charged in espionage and did not let to the USSR any more. In 1938 Georgian Institutes of Microbiology and Epidemiology and Bacteriophages united into one institute – Institutes of Microbiology and Epidemiology and Bacteriophages (IMEB).In 1950 the institute became scientific research  center for the whole soviet Union, under the  Central Ministry of Health of Soviet Union.The bacteriophage processing industrial plants were open in different parts of Soviet Union: Ufa, Gorky and Khabarovsk. Now the Institute is named-G. Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology, and Virology, and is a part of Georgian Academy of Sciences. The institute is successfully continuing its scientific activities and is still operating as one of the leading centers on bacteriophages in the world.

©ICFER S.Orjonikidze and J.Stalin-Soviet Premier

I©ICFER L.Beria- Georgian Premier during Eliava's arest

©ICFER Institute of Bacteriophages, 1938


Bacteriophages are parasitic to bacteria viruses . They are called the bacteria-eater viruses, bacteriophages. Bacteriophages, are existing in natural environments and are directly related to the numbers of bacteria present. They make significant impact on the evolution of bacteria. 


Bacteriophages use to attach to their specific host  bacteria and to inject their genetic material (DNA) into the bacterial cell. The favorable hosting area enables bacteriophages' DNA to multiply itself. The process is followed by formation of many new bacteriophages, which cause cell burst. After loosing their host millions of bacteriophages are starting to chase their new specific host bacteria to complete their life cycle.


D’Herelle was the first who introduced  the use of phages for therapeutic treatment purposes against infectious bacterial diseases.  The preparations of bacteriophages have been used for treatment in the United States and, Eastern Europe  in the Soviet Union an in particular in Georgia

The bacteriophages were used in pediatric medicine, 1988  

Intestibacteriophages were used as a preventive and treatment preparation, 1981


The use of bacteriophages during burns, 1981


Staphylophages against open wounds, 1988


Multy component pio-phages where often used, 1988


The use of bacteriophages during surgery, 1981


.The preparations were used for preventive and treatment measures in medicine, veterinary practice, water purification and disinfection.


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