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Chapter 18 : At the Center of a Storm: Koch's Work on Tuberculin

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At the Center of a Storm: Koch's Work on Tuberculin, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Up to now, bacteriology had given strong insights into the nature of infectious disease but had led to no remedies. In fact, many physicians criticized the "new bacteriology" because it had not led to any successful cures. But now bacteriology had found not only a cure, but a cure for the greatest scourge of humankind. Tuberculosis in Robert Koch's time was quite different from the disease we have today. In addition to the chronic lung infections we know, many cases of tuberculosis were rampant generalized infections of the body (miliary tuberculosis) or ugly, disfiguring skin infections, mainly around the nose and ears (lupus). Additionally, tuberculosis did not respect social or economic status, affecting rich and poor alike. Activated T cells, derived from the thymus, play a helper role in antibody formation, but also play a direct role in the destruction of cancer cells. Another important role of activated T cells is their involvement in a type of allergic response called delayed-type hypersensitivity. It is in this latter process that Koch's tuberculin played a role. Many of the symptoms of tuberculosis are a result of the delayed hypersensitivity reaction that is brought about by infection with the tubercle bacillus. What Koch found was that an extract of a pure culture of the tubercle bacillus, when injected under the skin of the guinea pig, brings about a remarkable response if the animal is infected.

Citation: Brock T. 1999. At the Center of a Storm: Koch's Work on Tuberculin, p 195-213. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch18

Key Concept Ranking

Skin Infections
0.7313348
Pleural Effusion
0.70035833
Infectious Diseases
0.6924592
Chemicals
0.5285418
Tuberculosis
0.48170882
Immune Response
0.47130466
0.7313348
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Figure 18.1

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Citation: Brock T. 1999. At the Center of a Storm: Koch's Work on Tuberculin, p 195-213. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch18
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Image of Figure 18.2
Figure 18.2

Citation: Brock T. 1999. At the Center of a Storm: Koch's Work on Tuberculin, p 195-213. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch18
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