Bacteriophages are viruses that fight against the proliferation of their host bacteria. Therapy with bacteriophages involves the oral administration of a single, isolated type of phage. They attach themselves to their bacterial counterparts in the patient's body in order to survive.
The phages reverse the polarity of the bacterial cell in such a way that it produces further phages, filling up with more and more phages and finally bursts. Then, the released phages attach themselves to other bacteria until all of the bacteria have been destroyed.
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, rubies, 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).