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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, Koch’s 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.


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