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March 25, 1905

Special Article.IMMUNITY.

JAMA. 1905;XLIV(12):952-955. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500390036002


THE "STRUCTURE" OF TOXINS AND ANTITOXINS AND THE NATURE OF THE TOXIN-ANTITOXIN REACTION.  Since it has not been possible to obtain the microbic poisons in a pure form, ordinary chemical analysis can give no indication of the composition of the toxin molecule. We have practically no means of studying the nature of toxin except through the biologic experiment, i. e., its effect on animals and on animal cells.Investigations have shown that when toxin and antitoxin are mixed in suitable proportions in a reagent glass, a union occurs between the two; a new, non-toxic substance is formed. The mixture contains neither demonstrable toxin nor antitoxin; that is say, when the mixture is injected into susceptible animals they suffer no intoxication (disappearance of toxin), or if some fresh toxin is added to the neutral mixture none of the fresh toxin is neutralized (disappearance of antitoxin).