1.2. In the beginning
1.2.1 Historic announcement
On March 24, 1882, Robert Koch read his paper on "Uber
Tuberkulose", in the Berlin Physiological Society. Here, he announced
the discovery of causative organism of TB. His discovery was so great
that instead of the customary applause, he received an astounded silence.
The silence was, however, short-lived. In that hour Koch introduced a
totally new era in the struggle against TB. Its relevance continues till
today. He visited Egypt and India in 1883 as the Head of the German Cholera
Commission and discovered the Cholera Vibrio. He later studied Rinderpest
in South Africa, tropical malaria, plague and many other diseases. Finding
cure for white plague was his foremost concern. An eager Koch announced
it in 1890. It was an extract: i.e., a heat concentrated culture filtrate,
on which the tubercle bacilli had been grown. However, these modified
tuberculins failed as therapeutic agents and brought him some ill fame.
Yet, Kochs school of work inspired many facets of research in prevention,
control and therapeutic aspects of the disease. He was awarded the Nobel
prize in 1905 and was elected to the German Academy of Sciences9.