Since its foundation, the National Institute of Hygiene has been a research center of great importance for preventive medicine. Studies on the following illustrate this:
- blood groups and their inheritance (headed by L. Hirszfeld)
- structure of dysentery, diphtheria, streptococcal and staphylococcal toxins, cell wall components and immunochemistry
- vitamins (headed by K. Funk)
- antigenic structure of Enterobacteriaceae
- antigenic structure of typhus fever rickettsia, antibody analysis in patients with typhus fever and epidemiology of this infection
- problems related to DNA-included transformation within the genus Streptococcus
- etiopathogenesis, immunopathology, and epidemiology of viral hepatitis
- antibiotic biosynthesis
- anaerobes and their toxins; the structure of their spores
- preparation and evaluation of vaccines
- controlled studies on the efficacy of vaccination against poliomyelitis, typhoid fever and measles
- efficacy and safety of human vaccination against rabies
- occurrence of rubella and congenital rubella
- biocenosis of the tick-borne encephalitis virus
- application of potential antimetabolites, mainly analogues of nucleic acid derivatives
- occurrence of chronic unspecific respiratory diseases, with reference to environmental effects
- action of disinfectants on microorganisms
Also at the Institute so-called applied studies were carried out to a large extent. Here we can mention:
- teamwork on preventive vaccination and epidemiology of infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, typhus fever, diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, smallpox, measles and rabies
- studies on environmental hygiene, in particular on the occurrence of trace elements in water, the effect of trace elements on living organisms, environmental pollution with ionizing radiation, dust in air carrying carcinogenic substances, purity of surface waters and the effect of their pollution (due to industrial sewage and pesticides) on health
- studies on staphylococcal enterotoxins and methods of detecting them in food
- studies in microsomal and lysosomal enzymes as early indices of animal cell injury
- monitoring of food impurities caused by harmful elements, pesticide residues, antibiotics and other drugs, nitrates and nitrites
- studies on the toxicity of various chemical insecticides and resistance of insects to insecticides
- studies on endocrinological disorders, effect of external conditions on the development of youth, health indices at school age, morbidity and mortality rates among school children
- studies on health education in schools and cultural centers, efficacy of health education methods in rural areas, in public health institutions, plants, training and methods of health education, the role of mass media
- studies on the application of statistical methods and computer technology to medical studies
In 1975 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare designated the National Institute of Hygiene to coordinate studies on The Effect of Environmental Pollution on Human Life and Health which were carried out in Poland in the period 1976-1985.
The objective of this survey was to study the effect of environmental factors on human health and the population of the country, and to draw up recommendations for the optimization of environmental conditions of human life. Partial cognitive and utilitary aims were formulated in three groups:
- development of new methods for the assay and detection of environmental pollution
- development of methods for the assay and evaluation of the effect of individual environmental pollution on human health
- evaluation of environmental pollution and its harmful effects on human population
These studies were conducted in cooperation with many scientific institutes, both home and abroad.
The scientific results obtained in the period 1976-1985 were reported in 1445 publications: 277 appeared in various scientific journals abroad and 1168 in Poland.
The report of the survey among others contributed to 20 habilitation and 43 doctoral theses submitted until 1985, a number of expertises, papers presented at congresses and many lectures.
In the years 1986-1990 studies of the program were continued within the framework of the Central Program for Research and Development under the name Prevention of Undesirable Effects on Health of the Polluted Human Environment. The principal aim of the program was to improve health and sanitary conditions of the country by:
- elaborating methods for the identification, detection, monitoring, control and reduction of undesirable health effects due to chemical, biological and physical pollution of the environment
- studying effect of preventive measures with respect to the state of the environment and health of the population
In the years 1991-1992 the Institute continued studies on the relationship between human health and the environment. Instead of coordinating research on the national level, cooperation was established only with those scientific institutions interested in the same specific problems. This kind of research project was approved by the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN).
In 1992 new studies were initiated under the sponsorship of the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN). Legislative work was done for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and also a number of expertises in areas specific to the activities of the Institute. At the same time long-term studies started in previous years were continued.
From this short period of research we have 176 papers published in 1991 and 208 in 1992.