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March 31, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(13):972-973. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270030304011

One of the most important of Koch's observations revealed the fact that guinea-pigs already infected with tuberculosis respond to a second injection of tubercle bacilli quite differently than do normal guinea-pigs to a first injection. Following on this came the discovery that tuberculin produces an effect on diseased persons or animals which is different from that seen in the uninfected. These facts have led to the belief that the disease produces a constitutional alteration of such character as to modify the reaction of the organism to the causative agent or its products. To use the expression introduced by von Pirquet, the infected body becomes allergic. The cause of this alteration in reaction, in accordance with general conceptions derived from the study of immunity, is generally attributed to the production of specific antibodies. Such antibodies have been found in the blood in tuberculosis, and display various properties, such as agglutinative power,

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