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May 1956

Half a Century of Serodiagnosis of Syphilis: Discovery and Development

AMA Arch Derm. 1956;73(5):426-440. doi:10.1001/archderm.1956.01550050004002


When A. Wassermann, A. Neisser, and C. Bruck first published a paper entitled "Eine serodiagnostische Reaktion bei Syphilis" in the Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift (32:745-746 [May 10] 1906), a new branch of science was started. The first sentences gave no evidence of how important and abundant the consequences would be.

They wrote:

We should like to report in the following short communication on material from syphilitic men and apes. A. Wassermann and C. Bruck called attention a short time ago (Med. Klin., 1905, No. 55; Deutsche med. Wchnschr. No. 12, 1906) to the fact that it is possible to prove in extracts from organs and body fluids the presence on the one hand of dissolved substances from microorganisms, and on the other, of specific antibodies against these substances with the help of the complement fixation in albumin-precipitating sera, as observed by Bordet, Gengou, Moreschi,

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