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November 22, 1924


JAMA. 1924;83(21):1688-1689. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02660210058018

An early and obviously logical sequence of the discovery of bacterial factors in infectious diseases and localized infections was the desire to find a systemic antiseptic that would readily penetrate to the microbial invaders and destroy them in the tissues without undue damage to the latter. It was hoped to accomplish such a remedial action by means of a chemical compound that could be introduced into the organism either orally or, if need be, intravenously and thus be brought to bear directly on dangerous bacteria, either in the blood or in the organs of the body. Like the earlier attempts to "disinfect" the alimentary tract through ingestion of selective germicidal substances, the more pretentious efforts to render the entire organism free from micro-organisms by a similar therapeutic procedure have not been attended with conspicuous success. The use of immune serums and comparable products having specific antitoxic potency has rapidly developed,