A century ago, the French-Canadian microbiologist Félix d’Herelle, recognized an “invisible microbe” that he proposed was a ‘bacteriophage’ virus with bacteria-devouring properties.
Read More at William C. Summers, “Bacteriophage Therapy”, (Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 2001. 55:437–51)
The Eliava Institute was founded in 1923 by distinguished Georgian physician, bacteriologist and phage researcher Prof. George Eliava. An extraordinary role in the institute’s development was played by famous French-Canadian scientist Felix D’Herelle, who first discovered bacteriophages. These scientists developed the joint idea of creating the World Centre of Phage Research and Phage Therapy in Tbilisi, Georgia. Unfortunately, this was the time of Stalin’s Terror. In 1937, Eliava was executed, along with his contemporaries, and D’Herelle never came back to Georgia.
During its long history, the Eliava Institute has been known by several respected titles. The best-known was the Scientific-Industrial Union (SIU) “Bacteriophage.” It included two major parts, the Research Institute and Industrial Department, the latter consisting of ten manufacturing units. Altogether, roughly 800 people used to work at the SIU “Bacteriophage”, of whom 120 engaged in research. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Industrial Department was partly privatized. During the Soviet period, the Eliava Institute played an important role in the elaboration of novel biological preparations and manufacturing products against almost all major bacterial and viral diseases, such as anthrax, rabies, tuberculosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis, dysentery, etc.
For many years, Eliava IBMV has been a leading organization in bacteriophage research, production of phage preparations and their practical application. Experts around the world recognize the contribution of Eliava IBMV scientists in the production of diagnostic, prophylactic and therapeutic preparations (bacteriophage “cocktails,” biological anti-bacterial and immunological medications) against bacterial infections and their application in various fields (medicine, veterinary, and environmental protection).
Eliava Phage Therapy Center
We are one of the few centers in the world dedicated to phage therapy. It is part of the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology and Virology, a research facility with broad experience in bacteriophage science and applications since 1923.
The Eliava Phage Therapy Center has specialists in the fields of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Urology, Gynecology and offers outpatient surgical consultations whose treatment strategies emphasize the use of bacteriophage as the cornerstone of complex medical service.
What is a bacteriophage?
Bacteriophage therapy is the use of “good” viruses (bacterial viruses) to treat antibiotic-resistant or chronic bacterial infections. The bacterial virus acts directly and exclusively on the target bacteria to destroy it through a process called “lysis.”
Patients visit the Eliava Phage Therapy Center from around the world to combat antibiotic-resistant infections with the Eliava’s unique therapeutic bacteriophages. Phage preparations for therapeutic and prophylactic use are made with a selection of bacteriophages with a wide spectrum of activity against the specific disease-causing bacteria. This is determined by performing bacteriological analysis from the clinical sample.
Phage therapy is a viable alternative treatment for infection. It is an especially useful tool for chronic and antibiotic-resistant infections.
Bacteria like MRSA, ESBL and CRE and VRE are superbugs that have become the scary reality of today’s world.
Phage can target multiple antibiotic-resistant infections and also prove advantageous in treating infections that can’t be effectively treated with antibiotics due to poor blood circulation or bacterial biofilms, because of their ability to translocate within wounds and in the body. They are a helpful solution for the treatment of infections in people with allergies to antibiotics, as well as the help protect the bacterial ecology (due to phage specificity) in the gut.
As phage is a naturally occurring organism, it has the ability to adapt and modify to changing antibiotic resistance, being bacteria’s natural predator, there are great opportunities to discover “new” bacteriophage against those bacteria.
The G. Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology in Tbilisi, Georgia is one of the world leaders in phage therapy research and has an unprecedented collection of bacteriophages that can be utilized for developing custom phage preparations.