Serum therapy of the pneumococcic pneumonias rests on the firm basis of our knowledge of their pathogenesis and mechanism of healing and on experience in practice. In response to infection with pneumococci, antibodies of various kinds are produced by the patient, and as part of the healing mechanism they unite with the antigen or capsular carbohydrate. These antibodies are specific for each type of pneumococcus. United with antibody, circulating carbohydrate is inactive. The blood usually is inhospitable to pneumococci when free antibody is present. Antibodies sensitize pneumococci so that they are either lysed or phagocyted and destroyed. Free carbohydrate makes the leukocytes antiphagocytic. Recovery occurs when more specific antibodies are present than the antigen orcarbohydrate which induced their appearance. By the administration of serum, a favorable condition of the blood in respect to antibody is produced in a shortened time and healing is accelerated.
For therapeutic use, antibodies are produced
BULLOWA JGM. SEROTHERAPY OF THE PNEUMONIAS: CLINICAL LECTURE AT ST. LOUIS SESSION. JAMA. 1939;113(15):1402–1404. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800400003008
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