CHOMI Seminar Series – “An Alternative to Antibiotics: Soviet Bacteriophage Therapy and its Role in Cold War Politics”, 20th October at 4pm

Please join us on October 20th at 4:00 pm for the next event in our Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland (CHOMI) Autumn seminar series:

“An Alternative to Antibiotics: Soviet Bacteriophage Therapy and its Role in Cold War Politics” 

Miriam Lipton (Oregon State University)

During WWII, the Allies had a secret weapon, one that helped save more lives than anything else. That weapon was penicillin–first discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming, and then later mass produced on an industrial scale by the Americans at the start of the war. Penicillin’s obvious utility and efficacy propelled the entire world onto the path of antibiotic dominance that continues into the present. Well, almost the entire world. While the Soviets were part of the Allied Powers during WWII and had access to penicillin, by war’s end they had virtually abandoned antibiotic research and instead focused on an alternative therapy, that of bacteriophages, a bacterial eating virus. In this talk I will discuss why the Soviets chose to focus on bacteriophages over antibiotics, and what bacteriophage research looked like in the first few decades following the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War.

Register here to attend digitally:

For in-person attendees, seminars will take place between 4 and 5pm Dublin Time at the UCD School of
History, Newman Building, Room K114.

You can find the full research seminar programme here:


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