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November 17, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(20):1660-1661. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520200056010

Compared to India, or even to Australia, the United States does not lose many inhabitants from the bites of poisonous snakes. And yet those who con the daily papers know that, especially in the South and West, a year never passes without a number of fatalities from this cause. A little over ten years ago Calmette announced that he had discovered an antitoxin which would protect against all varieties of snake bite, and even against scorpion bites, and was, moreover, curative. The vast mass of work on immunity and allied problems done since this announcement has made increasingly clear that antisera, like toxins, usually have a marked degree of specificity. Calmette's conclusions have been shown to be erroneous, and his serum has been demonstrated to be of value only in cobra poisoning. In practically all snake poisons there are at least two kinds of toxin, one acting on the central