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Article
May 22, 1909

THE ANTITOXIN UNIT AS A MEASURE OF CURATIVE VALUE

JAMA. 1909;LII(21):1670. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02540470036006
Abstract

While most of the active workers in the field of immunization have believed that the curative value of a serum could be accurately gauged by the number of antitoxin units it contained, there have not been lacking some dissenting voices. As is well known, the content of a serum in diphtheria antitoxin units is determined, as a rule, by mixing measured quantities of the serum with a standard toxin and injecting the mixture, under carefully controlled and uniform conditions, into a guinea-pig of 250 grams weight. The degree of protection afforded by a given serum under this procedure is generally considered to indicate its relative value for curing diphtheria in man. That is to say, if 10 c.c. of 200-unit serum proves efficacious in curing a patient, just one-half the amount, or 5 c.c. of a 400unit serum should prove equally efficacious.

Roux, Cruveilhier and others were among the first

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