Vaccine therapy for prevention or cure of infection has for its object the production of an active immunity to the specific bacteria concerned, while serum therapy produces a passive immunity only.
Immunity, which is resistance or lack of susceptibility to a given disease or micro-organism, may be natural or acquired. Artificial or acquired immunity may be the result of an attack of the disease itself or it may follow inoculation with living cultures of micro-organisms in sublethal doses or in an attenuated state, with dead cultures or with those products of the growth and metabolism of bacteria known as toxins. Immunity so acquired is active or direct, comparatively slow in appearance, and of comparatively long though variable duration. It is brought about by the development in the blood serum of substances antagonistic to the vital activity of the bacteria or to the toxins. Such
KERLEY CG. VACCINE AND SERUM THERAPY IN CHILDREN. JAMA. 1909;LIII(15):1179–1182. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.92550150001001i
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