Bacteriophage (from 'bacteria' and Greek φαγεῖν phagein "to devour" or bacterial eaters) are
bacterial viruses that infect and kill bacteria. Bacteriophages (shortly “phages”) are among the most
common and diverse entities in the biosphere. The estimated number of phages on earth is about 1032.
Bacteriophages are often isolated from environmental sources, such as water samples, etc. Felix
d’Herelle, one of the discoverers of bacteriophages, was the one who suggested them for therapy of
human and animal bacterial infections. This idea was very popular in the world until the advent of antibiotics
commercial after which production of therapeutic phages ceased in most of the Western countries,
but not in the former Soviet Union. The application of antibiotics in the clinical practice, besides
the well-known side effects, entails, in addition, the appearance of the forms of bacteria, resistant to newly synthesized
preparations. It was concluded that a European and global strategy to address this gap is urgently needed. Now, faced with
the alarming growth of a variety of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, Western researchers and governments are giving
phages a serious look. The phages nowadays are seen as a possible therapy against multi-drug-resistant strains of
many bacteria. The therapeutic action of bacteriophages significantly differs from antibiotics, which makes them still active
against multi-drug-resistant bacteria. Bacteriophages have a number of other advantages in comparison with antibiotics.
First of all, they are efficient against multi-drug-resistant bacteria. The aim of this review was to provide an overview
of the past and current experiences in the field of phage therapy in the countries where it has been traditionally applied in
the clinical practice. Although the style and quality of old Soviet scientific publications dedicated to phage therapy are not
challenging the international standards, there is still valuable information which may not be neglected by modern researchers.
This information is especially important as it remained unavailable for the Western scientists before because of
the language barriers until now. The goal of this article is to encourage further research on this topic, and facilitate rapid
decisions on the development of appropriate regulations, which would ultimately permit the use of phages as therapeutic
or preventative medicines in daily clinical practice in the Western countries where multiplying drug-resistant bacteria
gradually becomes the greatest life threatening problem.