|Contribution||a. Reported, with Kitasato, first evidence that infection (tetanus) resulted in the presence in serum of substances capable of neutralizing foreign materials.|
|Notes||Brock 1961 calls it the beginning of the science of serology. Discussed tetanus and diphtheria (one week later, Behring published, alone, on diphtheria; see next entry). Behring called the substances antibodies, and realized that this was a new defense mechanism (humoral) as distinct from the prevailing phagocytosis mechanism. Thus the first known antibodies were antitoxins. According to Silverstein, the discovery of antibody caused a decline in interest in cellular immunity that lasted almost 60 years. Bibel gives an English translation of the paper; and notes that it was unique in two ways: (1) showed resistance to microbial disease via serum (not just bactericidal action in vitro) and (2) showed passive immunity (transfer from actively immunized donor). Bibel says authors knew antibody as antitoxic property, not substance; see Tizzoni & Cattani 1891.|
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