Phages, wars & disasters


Cholera had always been an inevitable companion of armies at war. For instance, during the Sevastopol campaign of 1854–1855, the Anglo–French troops lost 73,000 men in military operations and 18,000 due to cholera !
In 1942, in Stalingrad, Zinaida Ermolieva, the woman in charge of producing phages was ready for the challenge : saving both Red Army and civil population from cholera and other bacterias. Science First Hand
The laboratory for growing, collecting and bottle phages was in the besieged city.

In 1940, bacteriophages proved to be effective during the Russian–Finnish war. These drugs helped reduce the stay of a wounded soldier in a field hospital to a week.
Ermolieva organized in besieged Stalingrad an underground secret laboratory for the production of the cholera bacteriophage directly. The drug was given to nearly 50,000 people every day.

Currently, NPO Microgen, a state company under the Russian Ministry of Health, produces 14 drugs containing bacteriophages targeted at the most common pathogens of bacterial infections. They are used for the prevention and treatment of acute intestinal infections (dysentery, typhoid, salmonella, etc.) and for the treatment of purulent-septic and other diseases of various localization: surgical infections, diseases of the ear, nose, throat, lungs and pleura, urogenital pathologies, gastroenterocolitis, intestinal dysbacteriosis, and infectious diseases in newborns and infants. The drugs have been produced at three plants in Ufa since 1939; in Gorky since 1941; and in Perm since 1995.
The consumption of these antibacterial agents in Russia is more than 1 billion packs per year.