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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 19-26
Stanier/Oxford Hygiene Symposium

Phage as an Antimicrobial Agent: D’herelle’s Heretical Theories and Their Role in the Decline of Phage Prophylaxis in the West

Dottore Emiliano Fruciano and Shawna Bourne2

1École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, France
2Stanier Institute/Institut Stanier, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Received 21 December 2006; Accepted 21 December 2006

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present report describes the presentation given by medical historian Dottore Emiliano Fruciano at the Stanier/Oxford Hygiene Symposium, held in Oxford, England, on November 10, 2004. Dr Fruciano's lecture, entitled “The failure of d’Herelle's project to consolidate the value of phage in the prevention and prophylaxis of infectious pathologies”, provided a historical synthesis of the events that led to the dismissal of the amazing discoveries of Félix d’Herelle. The present article chronicles the profound works of d’Herelle, from spectacular scientific, commercial and political successes to complete obscurity. The impact of social perspectives on the outcomes of critical scientific research is revealed in this poignant account.