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November 3, 1934


JAMA. 1934;103(18):1362-1366. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750440022006

In early studies of diphtheria toxin, it was observed that on standing the toxin undergoes spontaneous change resulting in loss of toxicity. But this loss of toxicity is not accompanied by corresponding loss in ability to neutralize diphtheria antitoxin. In elaborating his theory of immunity, Ehrlich employed the term "toxoid" to designate this nontoxic substance which is still able to bind antitoxin. The French prefer the term "anatoxin" for this substance. The change from toxin to toxoid, which takes place spontaneously in solutions of diphtheria toxin, may be hastened by addition of certain chemicals. Ramon used formaldehyde to accelerate and complete the change from diphtheria toxin to toxoid and utilized the formolized product for active immunization. He found the same method useful in obtaining toxoid from tetanus toxin. Toxoids that have lost their toxicity but retain the ability to neutralize and stimulate the production of antitoxin are satisfactory agents for

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