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November 26, 1982


JAMA. 1982;248(20):2759-2772. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330200183030

IMMUNOTHERAPY has been carried out since the days of Pasteur and Jenner (Fig 21-1). Its development constitutes one of the most successful chapters in medical history. The virtual elimination of a wide variety of diseases as the result of antibacterial or antitoxic antibodies is well appreciated. The more recent development of immunization regimens that are specific for viruses, epitomized by the virtual elimination of polio, represents ongoing research of the greatest import to the nation's public health. Although immunizations for bacterial diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia lapsed with the introduction of penicillin and the other antibiotics, there is a resurgence of interest in this area. Persons whose immune status is compromised, such as patients with sickle cell anemia, respond poorly to pneumococcal infections, even when treated with antibiotics. Field trials suggest that antibodies developed against specific pneumococcal polysaccharides are useful in such persons, and we have just witnessed the marketing