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Félix d'Herelle Coins the Term Bacteriophage


In 1917 French-Canadian microbiologist Félix d’Herelle, working in Paris, discovered a microbe-eating virus that he called “bacteriophage.” d'Herelle made his discovery independently of the work of Frederick Twort, which was published two years earlier, in 1915.

Bacteriophage was the origin of the modern usage “phage.” Incorrectly d’Herelle believed that bacteriophage played a role in immunity and were a potential therapeutic agent. These misconceptions stimulated research on phage.

d’Herelle, “Sur un microbe invisible antagoniste des bacilles dysentériques,” Comptes rendus 165 (1917) 373-75.

In 1921 d'Herelle published an influential book, Le bactériophage. Son rôle dans l'immunité. This was translated into English the following year as The Bacteriophage. Its Rôle in Immunity.


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