Adult Serum in the Prophylaxis of Measles

Walker, Robert Neil (1933) Adult Serum in the Prophylaxis of Measles. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The seriousness of measles in young children, especially in those who are debilitated and subject to unsatisfactory home conditions, has been frequently stressed already by members of our profession; facts and figures bearing on the subject therefore seem unnecessary here. But if our experience in Brighton is to be taken as a true index of the lay attitude towards the disease, the public still underestimate the gravity of measles and must be educated further on the subject. Attempts to establish the etiology of measles have, so far, not been crowned with success; moreover measles does not occur naturally among the lower animals, and in one species of ape only has the illness been artificially induced. Consequently we have no means at our disposal of producing active immunity in the human subject nor can we readily confer passive immunity by the use of immune substance of animal origin. The efficacy in measles prophylaxis of the serum of individuals convalescent from an attack has been firmly established but the finding of a sufficient number of suitable convalescent donors has proved so difficult that prophylaxis on a large scale has not been possible.In those infectious diseases where antibody in the blood can be measured by laboratory methods it is found that the protective substances diminish very rapidly subsequent to attack becoming very small in amount a few months later. By analogy, therefore, we might expect the serum of adults who had suffered from measles many years previously to be so poor in antibody as to be valued as a substitute for convalescent measles serum. Degkwitz, who first pointed out the possiblities of adult serum, abandoned it on theoretical grounds and since evidence on the value of adult serum still seemed lacking, it was decided to investigate the method as will be described in the following pages. The interest of the enquiry is twofold: (1) It is of scientific interest that antibody in considerable quantity should persist in the blood for many years subsequent to an attack of measles. (2) It is of considerable practical importance that adult serum, in dosage not too great to be readily obtainable, should be a suitable substitute for convalescent measles serum.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medicine, Immunology
Date of Award: 1933
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1933-80010
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 10:08
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 10:08

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