It has long been known that a primary tuberculous infection produces a resistance which modifies the course of a subsequent infection with the tubercle bacillus. Numerous attempts have been made to produce immunization against tuberculosis with products of tubercle bacilli and with tubercle bacilli killed by heat, light or chemicals or attenuated by drying, prolonged cultivation on artificial culture mediums or aging the culture. Attempts have also been made to immunize against the disease by means of acid-fast saprophytes and by means of tubercle bacilli which are nonpathogenic for the particular species. These efforts have never been wholly successful.
In 1906, Calmette and Guérin1 claimed that resistance to tuberculosis could be induced by impregnating the lymphatic system with living, attenuated tubercle bacilli, which localize there and are incapable of producing generalized tuberculosis. Calmette and Guérin2 believed that they had succeeded in modifying a strain of the bovine tubercle
ARONSON JD, DANNENBERG AM. EFFECT OF VACCINATION WITH BCG ON TUBERCULOSIS IN INFANCY AND IN CHILDHOOD: CORRELATION OF REACTIONS TO TUBERCULIN TESTS, ROENTGENOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS AND MORTALITY. Am J Dis Child. 1935;50(5):1117–1130. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1935.01970110025005
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