What's in the fridge?

Now I can show you my great treasures that I went all the way over to find in the Former Soviet Union - Georgia. In these tiny glass vials there are billions and trillions of ultra-microscopic viruses that are harmless except to certain bacteria, in which case they can be deadly.

These tiny DNA robots are sensitive to light and heat, so this is why I store them in my fridge. I have offered some to the Imperial War Museum for historical purposes regarding WW1, WW2, the Cold War and the Georgian War but they suggested I should offer them elsewhere. There are none on display at the Wellcome Trust or the Science Museum, so it is rather special to have these in my home in Reigate and to be able to show them to you via the internet.

Mostly their achievements have been rather brushed under the carpet in this country for many decades. However, it is time for some stories to be told. Actress Elizabeth Taylor was at death's door with a chest infection in 1961 whilst filming Cleopatra - British medicines were not helping. In the emergency, 20 vials like these were flown in specially from New York to her team of medical experts at the London Clinic. Maybe needless to say, she recovered by the next morning. That version of the dramatic story failed to make the British press, so I have written a fully referenced account of it thanks to a co-researcher in the USA who also likes hunting through the archives for evidence.

Since these helpful viruses are invisible to the naked eye without an electron microscope, here are some videos I have made at home on a shoestring budget, to introduce their helpful capabilities to the public. As an easy-to-read follow-up you can read my official 20-page report, "The health value of bacteriophages" 2007. For scientists, there is a mini-review which I co-authored with the Polish team in 2009, called "Bacteriophage therapy for the treatment of infections", and for non-scientists, my book chapter 17 in a  military history book called Women in War - from home front to front line, published in 2012 by Pen and Sword.