"Madame Penicillin": how a Soviet female microbiologist overcame cholera and found a universal antibiotic
"Madame Penicillin": how a Soviet female microbiologist overcame cholera and found a universal antibiotic
Anonim
Prominent Soviet scientist-microbiologist, epidemiologist and bacteriochemist Zinaida Ermolyeva

The name of the outstanding microbiologist Zinaida Ermolyeva today it is known all over the world, while at home it remains undeservedly forgotten. She managed to stop cholera during the Great Patriotic War and save thousands of lives, and then - to create a high-quality domestic antibiotic, which turned out to be 1, 4 times more effective than the Anglo-American, for which she received the nickname "Madame Penicillin" abroad.

The creator of the domestic antibiotic

Surprisingly, but the choice of her profession was influenced by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The story of the death of her beloved composer (he died of cholera) made Zinaida Yermolyeva think about finding methods and means to counteract this terrible disease. The fight against cholera has become a matter of her entire life. And in this matter, she has achieved outstanding success.

Microbiological scientist whose contribution to science is invaluable

After graduating from the Mariinsky Women's Gymnasium in Novocherkassk, Ermolyeva entered the Medical Faculty of Don University, where she remained to work at the Department of Microbiology. In 1922, an epidemic of cholera broke out in Rostov-on-Don, and Ermolyeva, despite the danger of infection, began to study the causative agents of this disease. She conducted a number of laboratory experiments, but human trials were necessary. To confirm her hypothesis that some cholera-like vibrios in the human intestine can turn into true cholera vibrios and provoke disease, the 24-year-old girl decided on a deadly experiment - self-infection. Fortunately, this experiment had no tragic consequences and convinced Ermolieva of the truth of her assumptions.

Prominent Soviet scientist-microbiologist, epidemiologist and bacteriochemist Zinaida Ermolyeva

Microbiologist Yermolyeva worked on a method for diagnosing cholera and ways to prevent the disease. It was she who came up with the idea of ​​chlorination of drinking water as a disinfection, which is still used today. Already in 1925 she became the head of the department of biochemistry of microbes at the Biochemical Institute in Moscow. The girl arrived there with one suitcase containing 500 cultures of cholera and cholera-like vibrios. In Moscow, she met the bacteriologist Lev Zilber, who became her husband. Together they worked at the Institute. Pasteur in France and at the Institute. Koch in Germany.

Lev Zilber and his wife Zinaida Ermolyeva, early 1930s

The battle for Stalingrad was fought not only by the military, but also by scientists. Ermolyeva's scientific developments turned out to be most relevant during the Second World War: in 1942, the fascist invaders attempted to infect the water supply of Stalingrad with Vibrio cholerae. Leading microbiologists and epidemiologists of the country were urgently sent there. The train in which they were carrying bacteriophages - viruses that infect the cells of the causative agent of cholera - came under bombardment, most of the medicines were destroyed. Therefore, Yermolyeva had to restore the lost preparations on the spot, in the basement of one of the buildings. Cholera phage, along with bread, were distributed daily to thousands of Stalingrad residents, the water in the wells was chlorinated, the nurses made vaccinations - as a result of all these measures, the cholera epidemic in Stalingrad was prevented.

The creator of the domestic antibiotic

During the war, thousands of soldiers died not only in battles and from epidemics, but also as a result of purulent-septic complications after wounds. Penicillin was already used to combat them in the West, but a foreign drug was not available.Then Yermolyeva was entrusted with the development of a domestic analogue of a universal antibiotic. She coped with this task: in 1942, the first Soviet antibacterial drug "Krustozin" appeared, and the next year it was launched into mass production.

Soviet scientist whose contribution to science is invaluable

As a result of the use of this drug, up to 80% of the wounded soldiers returned to duty, the mortality rate dropped significantly. In the late 1940s. in the West, they conducted research and came to the conclusion that domestic penicillin is superior to the Anglo-American in effectiveness. The scientific developments of the microbiologist Yermolyeva were written in foreign publications, and then she received her nickname "Madame Penicillin".

Zinaida Ermolyeva's contribution to science is invaluable

Despite the fact that Yermolyeva's scientific merits were obvious and she herself became a laureate of the Stalin Prize (which she spent on buying an aircraft for the army), her relatives did not escape repression: both the first and second husbands were arrested. According to legend, when, in gratitude for the saved life of her daughter, one of the generals offered her to save one of them, she asked to release her first husband, since "Lev Zilber is needed by science."

Iya Savvina as Tatyana Vlasenkova - the heroine of Kaverin's novel, the prototype of which was the microbiologist Ermolyeva

Ermolyeva is the author of over 500 scientific papers, her contribution to national science is invaluable. Despite this, the name of the outstanding microbiologist remains undeservedly forgotten today. And when the heroes of the war are remembered, they rarely talk about scientists, although they deserve it no less than the military.

Iya Savvina as Tatyana Vlasenkova - the heroine of Kaverin's novel, the prototype of which was the microbiologist Ermolyeva

Zinaida Ermolyeva became the prototype for the heroine of Kaverin's novel "The Open Book". And on the screen this image embodied Iya Savvina - "steel violet", which life tested for strength.

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