Virus vs Bacteria – A Way out of the Antibiotics Crisis?

Documentary ( 2011 )

Directed by Stefanie Schmidt, produced by Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck, 52 min., HD, Co-produced with ARTE/ZDF.

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This film deals with the global antibiotics crisis. Following the touching case of a patient whose condition seems incurable, we observe the limits and possibilities of phage therapy, an alternative naturopathic treatment from Georgia that is making quite an impression on Western doctors.


It’s been called a global crisis in the making which threatens to render one of our most potent medicines useless. For decades, experts have been warning about increased resistance to antibiotics. In Europe alone, approx 25,000 people die every year from common resistant bacterial infections. But could an alternative treatment from Georgia hold the answer to the antibiotics crisis?

Phage therapy – the use of viruses which attack and destroy certain bacteria – has been around for longer than antibiotics. But it was forgotten in Europe, when antibiotics became the normal treatment and is still not licensed for use there. However, in the former Soviet Union, isolated from advances in antibiotic research, Russian scientists pioneered new developments in phage therapy.

We follow the case of Henri Lemaitre, whose leg became infected with resistant bacteria during a stay in hospital. Will phage therapy prevent his leg from being amputated?


  • Author: Stefanie Schmidt
  • Director: Stefanie Schmidt
  • Producer: Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck
  • Camera: Volker Mai;Jakub Bejnarowicz;Peter Bolton;Joffrey Monnier
  • Sound: Jean Amoris
  • Commissioning Editor: Linde Dehner


Henri Lemaitre;Dr. Dublanchet;Dr. Rezo Adamia;Dr. Nodar Danelia;Dr. Ludo Haazen;Dr. Thomas Rose;Mark Offerhaus