History of the center
On January 1, 1949, by order of the Ministry of Health of the USSR № 739 dated December 9, 1948, the Alma-Ata Anti-Plague Station was transformed into the Central Asian Anti-Plague Research Institute, which was headed by Tleugabylov Muhamedrakhim. During the years of his leadership (1949-1962), the Anti-Plague Institute turned into a large modern research institution of that time, being a methodological, advisory and scientific center of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics.
For 25 years, from 1962 to 1987, Masgut Aikimbayev was the Director of the Institute, whose name is now held by the National Scientific Center for Especially Dangerous Infections. This was the heyday of the Institute, the expansion of its scientific and industrial activities.
The scientific work of the Institute was led at various times by V. V. Shunaev, V. S. Petrov, L. N. Klassovsky, A. M. Aikimbayev. The Priority tasks were to develop and implement new directions for creating a coherent system of epidemiological surveillance of plague and other EDI in the work of the anti-plague service. It was in those years that the foundations were laid for the study of ecology, epizootology, epidemiology, microbiology and laboratory diagnostics of EDI. While performing administrative work, they were engaged in scientific research, the development of new scientific directions, participated in anti-epidemic measures, the development of medical immunobiological drugs.
The leading researchers of the Institute at that time were widely erudite and professional people. We want to recall memories about them. The main qualities of these researchers were selfless dedication to their favorite work. After all, many of them joined the line of the fight against the plague, when streptomycin was not yet available and every day of work in the nidus or at the laboratory table was associated with a risk to life.
Moisey Shmuter made a huge contribution to the development of medical immunobiological drugs for laboratory diagnostics of especially dangerous infections, was the author of a vaccine strain of plague, and was repeatedly awarded medals of the USSR. He was also distinguished by his universal knowledge of epidemiology, epizootology, and microbiology of especially dangerous infectious diseases.
Universal scientists were Leshkovich L. I., Klassovsky L. N., Roshchin V. V., Peisakhis L. A., Martinevsky I. L., Kanatov Y. V., Pak G. Y., Aubakirov S. A., Stepanov V. M., Semiotrochev V. L., Aubakirov S. A., Beketov B. I., Sagymbek U. A., Suleymenov B. M., Kusakin A. A.
Until 1992, the Institute was a consultative and methodological center for anti-plague institutions in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, represented by 15 anti-plague stations.
50-80-ties of the last century – the period of flourishing of scientific, industrial and pedagogical activity of the Institute. At this time, scientific and methodological bases of activities for epidemic well-being for especially dangerous infections were developed. Scientific conferences of anti-plague institutions of Central Asia and Kazakhstan were regularly held, the Institute’s works and collections of scientific papers were published, and articles of scientists were published in Central and foreign publications. The range of medical immunobiological drugs was expanded, their production was mastered and increased.
In 1954, to train specialists for the entire anti-plague service of the country, the Institute organized courses for primary specialization of doctors and biologists in EDI. The first teachers made a great contribution to the work of the course Department: Kartashova A. L., Chulturova F. M., Archangelskaya T. M., Niyazova B. O., Lopatina N. F., Stogova A. G., Dobrotsvetova T. Y. They developed programs and plans for training cadets. Despite the fact that such courses were held in Saratov and Irkutsk, specialists from all over the country sought to study at our Institute.
The Institute’s fruitful scientific work was recognized by the international community: the WHO Center for Plague functioned on the basis of the institute, where WHO fellows from Vietnam, Burma, Mongolia, Cuba and other countries were trained. In 1962, 1965, and 1967, WHO seminars were held at the Institute with the participation of representatives from 26 countries.
In the field of plague, the distribution, structure of settlements and ecology of carriers, systematics, ecology and zoogeography of vectors, epizootological significance of those and others, as well as the main patterns of plague enzootics were studied (Petrov V. S., Mikulin M. A., Bibikov D. I., Khrusselevsky V. P., Kunitsky V. N., Bibikova V. P., Serzhan O. S., Burdelov A. S., Kunitskaya N. T., Burdelov L. A., Polye S. B., Ageev V. S., etc.). The study of the ecology of carriers and vectors contributed to the identification of ways to actively influence the natural foci of plague and reduce their epidemic potential (Kasatkin B. M., Chekalin V. B., Burdelov L. A., etc.). New enzootic territories were identified in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (Sagymbek U. A., Peisakhis L. A.), typification and certification of plague foci was carried out (Aubakirov S. A., Baitanaev O. A., etc.), epizootological and epidemiological significance of the plague pathogen from different foci was assessed (Stepanov V. M., Kudinova T. P., Atshabar B. B, Suleimenov B. M., Lukhnova L. Y., MEKA-Mechenko T. V., etc.), improved taxonomy of plague and closely related microbes (Martinevsky I. L., Klassovsky L. N.), features of pathogenesis of the plague infectious process and principles of treatment (Aikimbayev A. M., Isin Z. M., Dmitrovskiy A.M.), pathohistological service was developed (Koturga L. N., Borisov I. V.), actual medical immunobiological drugs and nutrient media were developed and introduced into production (Schmuter M. F., Menshov P. I., Krasikova M. A., Dobrotsvetova T. Y., Khodzhaeva L. U., Lipatova E. S., Terenteva L. I., etc.), for the first time in the USSR, erythrocyte and immuno-enzyme complexes were created and monoclonal antifractional plague diagnosticums put into production (Temiralieva G. A., Kanatov Y. V., Tleugabylova A.M., Aimanova O. Y., Aikimbayev A.M., luhnova L. Y., Arakelyan I. S., etc.).
The staff of the Institute was distinguished by hard work and dedication to their profession. The work continued for a long time after the end of the working day.
It is impossible not to remember with gratitude the legendary women of the Institute, who mainly worked in boxes with especially dangerous material (Egorova R. P., Burdo L. N., Osadchaya L. M., Musina A. T., Niyazova B. O., Chervyakova V. P., Afanasiev O. V., Murzakhmetova K. M., Lopatina N. F., Chulturova F. M., Stogova A. G., Sosunova A. N., Yastrebova E. N., etc.). One of the best nurseries in Almaty was created under the leadership of Koldushko A. N. All the difficulties of working in regime conditions were also borne by laboratory assistants who deserved sincere respect (Ovcharenko A. G., Tkachenko A. F., Mukhamedzhanova A. A., Matveeva N. A., Makushina E. A., Vashurkina Y. F., Klychkova N. V., Sysoev V. I., Mozgov M. S., Mukhambetov K. M., Kostenko A. F., Pitenko A.V., Romanov K. M., Chernikov T. D., Kalugina A. P., etc.). Disinfectors and laboratory attendants worked in a single vein. The library managers Grube M. A., Reshetova O. V., Solovyova T. G. created a rich library fund, which continues to provide us with the necessary information.
The administrative and economic part of the Institute provided the necessary conditions for smooth operation. In those years, an important problem of providing the Institute’s employees with comfortable housing was solved.
The foundation of the brucellosis laboratory made a significant contribution to epidemiology and microbiology by the works of well-known specialists in this field: Uzbekova B. R., Kondratyeva O. V., Dobrotsvetova T. Y., Khodzhayeva L. U., which was important for the study and prevention of this socially significant disease.
The study of tularemia in Kazakhstan, started by Golovym D. A., Olsufiev N. G. and others, was marked by the discovery of a new Central Asian race of the pathogen (Fr. tularensis mediaasiatica Aikimbaev, 1966). The natural foci of this infection in Kazakhstan was studied (Aikimbayev M. A., Yershova L. S., Marten G. M., etc.), laboratory diagnostics was improved, and work was carried out to search for highly immunogenic strains (Chimirov O. B., Tursunov A. N.).
Specialists Semiotrochev V.L., Stogova A.G., Roshchin V.V., Kunitsa N.K., Beketov B.I., Urustenov S. K. and others stood at the origins of the formation of the cholera laboratory. The 90-s became a test for the antiplague service of Kazakhstan due to the 7-th cholera pandemic. It was particularly difficult in 1992, when, following the epidemic in the Shymkent region, a massive import of cholera by «shuttles» was noted in Almaty. Then the deficit of diagnostic drugs was most acute due to the collapse of the USSR antiplague service.
This served as an impetus for the development of independent anti-epidemic surveillance services for some zoonoses. Thus, Bezrukova L. S., Nekrasova L. E., Kuzmin Y. A., Meka-Mechenko T. V., Dernova V. F. became the organizers of laboratory services for the diagnosis of pseudotuberculosis, intestinal yersiniosis, listeriosis, pasteurellosis.
The production of leptospirosis and anthrax diagnosticums was developed on the basis of the laboratory headed by Tugambaev T. I., the production of brucellosis diagnosticums (Beketov B. I., Altukhov A. A., Zakaryan S. B., Medvedenko N. P.), diagnostic brucellosis and anthrax phages was mastered (Tyulembaev M. A., Razumkova V. F.), etc.
Employees of the Institute were invited as consultants and to participate in conferences in the USA, Italy, France, Congo, China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran, UAE, etc.
From 1987 to 1995, the activities of the Kazakh Anti-Plague Institute were led by V. M. Stepanov. He took an active part in conducting anti-epidemic measures in Kazakhstan and Russia. His developments have always been relevant, Vladimir Mikhailovich headed a major scientific direction for the study of the biology of the causative agent of the plague. On his initiative, large-scale studies were conducted on the study of combined infections: yersiniosis, listeriosis, pasteurellosis in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
Aikimbayev Alim Masgutovich was Deputy Director for science of the Institute from 1987 to 2010 (before that, since 1972, he worked at the Institute in various positions). A.M. Aikimbayev belongs to the generation of representatives of the anti-plague system, who were distinguished by a broad outlook, dedication to their work, energy and commitment. He is distinguished by organizational and creative activity, professionalism, competence.
In 1998-2017, the Director was B. B. Atshabar. B. B. Atshabar managed to preserve the Center and its staff in the most difficult years of transition to a market economy, he helped to strengthen the material and technical base through active work on establishing international cooperation, introducing modern methods of diagnosis and research of infectious diseases, expanding the profile of supervised infections and areas of work.
Achievements in the field of biosafety and biosecurity are the development and implementation of a Risk Management System (based on the international standard CWA 15793 and the Biosafety Manual (based on the WHO guidelines 2004, 2006) in NSCEDI and APS (L.E. Nekrasova).
The introduction of modern technologies and their use in scientific and practical developments contributes to improving the effectiveness of epidemiological surveillance of especially dangerous infections. NSCEDI uses molecular methods to study plague microbe strains: plasmid and protein profiles, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and immunoblot (Western blot). Analysis of the results of the study of Y. pestis strains using VNTR methods confirmed the genetic diversity of strains circulating in the natural foci of plague in Kazakhstan. When studying B. anthracis strains by VNTR method, 12 genotypes (KZ 1-12) were identified, which are part of 5 clusters A1a, A4, A3в, A5, and A6. In the study of brucellosis pathogen strains, the following methods are used: universal indirect enzyme immunoassay; competitive enzyme immunoassay; fluorescence polarization analysis (FPA); polymerase chain reaction (PCR); AMOS PCR, universal enzyme immunoassay, developed by Dr. K. Nielsen (Canada).
In NSCEDI laboratories, RT PCR and various variants of immunoenzyme analysis are successfully used for the diagnosis of especially dangerous infections. The use of GIS technologies has made it possible to increase the effectiveness of epidemiological surveillance of especially dangerous infections. In the near future, methods for remote sensing of natural plague foci and mathematical modeling of the epizootic process in plague are planned to develop.
The use of modern technologies in NSCEDI research is a promising direction that has increased the effectiveness of research, which was greatly facilitated by the successful cooperation of NSCEDI with leading research centers in the United States, Europe and Russia, international organizations and foundations.
After B. B. Atshabar, the Institute was briefly headed by T. Z. Ayazbayev (2017 II-IV); S. R. Musinov (2017 VIII-XI). From the end of 2017 to July 2018, the acting Director was E. B. Sansyzbayev. From August 2018 to the present, the Director of NSCEDI is doctor of medical sciences T. K. Yerubayev. Much work remains to be done: on international accreditation of the Central Reference Laboratory; on the implementation of the STP 2018-2020 “Development of national standards for microbiological monitoring, study, storage and transportation of causative agents of quarantine and especially dangerous, “returning ”, newly emerging and imported infections” using the capabilities of the CRL; to create GMP conditions for the production of vaccines and accreditation for compliance with ISO 13485 for medical devices. In addition, NSCEDI implements national grant programs: «Population differences of the plague carrier, vector and pathogen in the Central Asian natural plague foci» and «Improvement of experimental work with laboratory animals in the Republic of Kazakhstan».
To fulfill these major tasks, the Center’s management has set a priority in the personnel policy: there have already been positive changes in the age structure of employees. Thus, the average age of employees is 53 years, and scientific employees — 43. In other words, the age structure of key employees with academic degrees is close to optimal. This new generation of NSCEDI employees will witness a new stage in the development of research aimed at protecting people from especially dangerous infections!