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March 5, 1938


JAMA. 1938;110(10):742-743. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790100040013

Knowledge of viruses and virus diseases has progressed so rapidly that reviews are out of date almost as soon as published. The clinical lecture of Thomas M. Rivers1 at the Kansas City session of the American Medical Association now needs to be supplemented. Van Rooyen and Rhodes2 have recently reviewed the subject. Present investigations, they say, have tended to show that the so-called filtrable and ultramicroscopic viruses represent a range of living agents that differ from the bacteria only by virtue of their minute size and their inability to multiply in cell-free mediums. This view cannot be considered final, however, since Laidlaw and Elford in 1936 isolated from sewage a virus which was successfully cultivated in artificial mediums. Furthermore the living nature of viruses has been challenged by the work of Stanley and others, who isolated from plants affected by tobacco mosaic a crystalline protein which was capable

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