A new phase in serum diagnosis was introduced by the determination that syphilitic antigen is soluble in alcohol and that such alcoholic extracts could be used in the same manner as physiologic salt solution extracts in the serum diagnosis of syphilis. This discovery was thought at first to be only of theoretical value1 in throwing light on the nature of the chemical substances concerned in the binding of complement, since it showed by the solubility of these substances in alcohol that they were fat-like substances or lipoids.
Since the use of other substances like lecithin, sodium oleate, etc., as antigen might, through failures, reflect on the practical value of the reaction for the serum diagnosis of syphilis, Wassermann2 insisted that the results of his reaction could be relied on only when extracts made with physiologic salt solution were used.
The variability of these extracts even when kept on
MARCHILDON JW. A COMPARISON OF ALCOHOLIC AND WATERY EXTRACTS IN THE SERUM DIAGNOSIS OF SYPHILIS.. JAMA. 1908;LI(25):2149–2151. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410250049001j
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