Bacteriophages have been used in a handful of countries for many years, ever since they were discovered over a 100 years. In the EU and USA, they are not popular and are said to lack data around this subject. Some countries such as Russia, are many years ahead in this subject and not only understand and teach the potential of phages from secondary education, but actively use them in many different situations. One of such situations is of an environmental one, the recent flooding in Irkutsk region in Russia.
A major flood in Irkutsk, Russia
On 30th June 2019, the region of Irkutsk declared a state of emergency due to serious flooding which resulted in thousands of homes being destroyed. What led to this natural disaster was torrential rain that resulted in Lake Baikal and the Angara River bursting through their banks. Local media stated that at least 5 people died and over 9,000 people who were affected. Surrounding villages, approximately 50, were also inaccessible. This disaster caused havoc, destroying bridges and roads, as well as the homes of the inhabitants. 136 were hospitalized of which 12 were in a severe state.
Microgen supplies Intesti phages to flood victims
Microgen, which has been producing phages for over 60 years, has delivered 12 thousand doses of their Intesti bacteriophage to flood victims, as an emergency prevention of the spreading of intestinal infections. The bacteriophages are prepared and delivered to areas that have suffered natural disasters, such as a flood, in order to prevent the possibility of mass outbreaks of infectious diseases. In the case of the Irkutsk region, the Intesti phage was sent to prevent the spreading of diseases such as dysentery, salmonellosis, dyspepsia, dysbacteriosis, enterocolitis, and colitis.
Intesti phage used on the mass public in emergency situations
This is not the first time that bacteriophages from Microgen were used in such situations. Similar actions were taken by authorities during the flooding in Khakassia, Tyumen region, Yakutia, Trans-Baikal territory in July 2018 (resulting in the damage of 800 houses, 2000 household plots, and 40 bridges) and in the Krasnodar territory in October 2018 (resulting in the damage of 1928 homes, 30 effected locations, damaged roads, and railways). There have been no reports of any spikes in the above-mentioned diseases amongst the flood victims, and none showed side effects from the Intesti bacteriophage.