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May 13, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(19):1538. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500460046011

Since the unsuccessful attempt of Pane in 1898 but little has been accomplished in the line of specific serotherapy in lobar pneumonia. Later, however, our theoretical knowledge of the principles which underlie the production of sera antagonistic to bacteria of the pneumococcus class has greatly increased, thanks to Ehrlich and his coworkers. It is now generally believed that the spontaneous healing of pneumococcus infections is due to the production of bacterial antibodies rather than of antitoxins. In other words, a serum to be curative for pneumonia must possess bactericidal rather than antitoxic properties. There are many theoretical difficulties to overcome in the production of such a serum, if we assume that Ehrlich's views are correct. According to his theory specific immune bodies (amboceptors) combine on the one side with bacterial cells and on the other with complements produced by the body cells. Both amboceptors and complements are necessary to produce