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American Philosophical Society
Emil von Behring: Infectious Disease, Immunology, Serum Therapy (Memoir 255)
Derek S. Linton
In 1901 Emil von Behring received the first Nobel Prize in medicine for serum therapy against diphtheria, a disease that killed thousands of infants annually. Diphtheria serum was the first major cure of the bacteriological era & its development generated novel procedures for testing, standardizing, & regulating drugs. Since the intro. of antibiotics, Behring & his work have largely been forgotten. In the first English-language scientific biography of Behring, Derek S. Linton seeks to restore Behring’s reputation. He emphasizes Behring’s seminal contributions to the study of infectious disease, the formation of modern immunology, & innovative research on specific remedies & vaccines against deadly microbial infections. Behring’s research program is placed within the context of Imperial Germany’s vibrant scientific culture. This biography explores his complex relations to the rival bacteriological schools of Robert Koch in Berlin & Louis Pasteur in Paris, the emergent German pharmaceutical industry, & the institutionalization of experimental therapeutic research. It also analyzes Behring’s collaborations & controversies with leading med. researchers. The second part of the vol. contains translations of 13 key articles by Behring & his associates on infectious diseases, immunology, drug testing, & therapeutics spanning 30 years of his remarkable scientific career.
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