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German physiologist Emil von Behring (1854-1917)

Behring introduced serum therapy for diphtheria and was controversially awarded a solo Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this in 1901. Actually, the work had been done by both Behring and Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), but Behring apparently cheated Ehrlich out of both recognition and financial reward. They had produced their diphtheria serum by repeatedly injecting the bacterial toxin into a horse. The serum was then used effectively during an epidemic in Germany. A chemical company offered a contract to both men, but Behring took the considerable financial rewards for himself. (Courtesy of the University of Marburg, Germany.)

Associated Disorders

  • asplenia
  • deficiency of a terminal complement component (C5-9)
  • deficiency of properdin