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August 28, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(9):803-804. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580090051020

Paul Ehrlich was a genius of the first order.1

While he was still a student of medicine, the problems presented by the affinity of lead for certain tissues attracted his attention. From speculating on the nature of this affinity, his interest grew to include protoplasmic affinities in general, and thus was determined the direction his genius should take.

Some of the notable results of his early investigations are discoveries in bacterial staining methods, which proved of great value to Koch and which, ever since, have been in daily use everywhere; the micro-chemical differentiation of leukocytes, on which rests the study of the blood for clinical purposes; the development of the methylene blue reaction of living tissues, and the formulation of that unique conception of protoplasmic structure and function on which he based the great side-chain theory which he advanced to explain the reactions in immunity and other phenomena.