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February 13, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(7):467. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490520057003

As the chief hero in the contest between the bacterium and the man, the leucocyte seems to be suffering the fate of many another shining light of battle, and its once high position is being most vigorously assailed. At first, the only means of defense against bacteria that had once gained a foothold and begun to multiply, so far as known, was the intrepid leucocyte, which was supposed to attack the most virulent bacteria, engulf them while in full activity and either to digest them or die in the attempt. Through the work of Metchnikoff and his school, particularly, this power of the leucocyte was made familiar to all, and the subject was elaborated vigorously. It was not long, however, before voices were raised in opposition, contending that the leucocyte was not so much of a hero after all, but merely a scavenger that picked up the bodies of dead