A hitherto unknown world phenomenon was recognised in August Kirchenstein Institute of Microbiology (Latvian Academy of Sciences). It was a human intestine virus extracted from intestines of small children that was capable of destroying human tumours, when injected in hamsters (human angiosarcoma heterotransplantate in the Syrian hamster cheek pouches).
In order to study the phenomenon further, a cancer virotherapy laboratory was established in the Institute with Professor Aina Muceniece in the lead. Over 60 different virus types were investigated and 5 most active viruses that had the most powerful cancer-cell destruction capabilities were selected. One of them was named Rigvir (Riga virus). It was discovered that Rigvir was a safe virus that was not able to reproduce in a human body.
Latvian Ministry of Health issued the permission to apply Rigvir as cancer treatment in the Department No. 2 of the Oncological Dispensary of the Republic and in the Chemotherapy Department No. 18 of Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital (Heads of the Department I. Priedīte, I. Kundziņa). Latvian SSR Ministry of Health Order No. 220a/20 of 25 April 1968 “On clinical approbation of enteroviruses for oncological patients, mostly with digestive tract malignant tumours”. The study included 415 patients. It proved the safety of Rigvir for the patients and its epidemiological safety. Adaptation of Rigvir to the skin melanoma tissues started as the cells of this cancer do not respond well to radiation and chemotherapy. Rigvir was successfully adapted to the skin melanoma tissues and the healing effect of the adapted Rigvir was proven.
1969, 1977 and 1988
The Cancer Virotherapy Laboratory of the Institute of Microbiology of the Latvian Academy of Sciences organised the Soviet Union level meetings with theses’ materials.
In 1985, Latvian SSR Augusts Kirhensteins Institute of Microbiology developed an instruction for the clinical research on the virus immunomodulatory antirecidive and antimetastatic properties in skin melanoma patient cases in relation to the surgical treatment and chemotherapy.
The USSR Pharmacology Committee permitted clinical trials also in the Soviet Union Oncology Centre in Moscow and the Oncodispenser of Saratov, where Rigvir was recognised as safe even for patients with severe and incurable cancer.
Patients with various types of cancer were being treated with Rigvir at the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital and the Oncology Centre of Latvia.
October 20, 2002
The invention rights and the patent of Rigvir were registered.
April 29, 2004
The drug Rigvir was registered in the State Agency of Medicines of the Republic of Latvia.
Since August 22, 2005
Rigvir is available in the territory of Latvia.
In order to develop virotherapy in Latvia and all over the world, Latvian scientists, oncologists and immunologists founded Latvian Centre of Virotherapy.
After a period of time spent in preparation of documents to meet the EU requirements, the production and supply of Rigvir (prescription drugs) was resumed in the territory of Latvia.
Rigvir is included in the state-funded medicines list for skin melanoma patients.