Robert Koch was right. Towards a new interpretation of tuberculin therapy

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At the centenary of Robert Koch's Nobel Prize award, tuberculosis treatment with tuberculin, which was announced in Berlin in 1890, is still considered a failure. Nevertheless, there is now sufficient information supporting the idea that tuberculin therapy was widely used until the second half of the twentieth century; thus, the impact of this treatment should be studied and related to the decrease in tuberculosis-related mortality recorded in that period. Moreover, tuberculin therapy has inspired at least two new immunotherapies; these, however, were directed toward precisely the opposite effect: suppression of the Koch phenomenon. Thus, inoculation of Mycobacterium vaccae polarizes the immune response towards the Th1 type; and inoculation of RUTI avoids local immunodepression after short-term chemotherapy without inducing toxicity. For this reason, Robert Koch's work on antituberculosis therapy should be reread and proper recognition given to his contribution in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-391
JournalEnfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiologia Clinica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Historia
  • Inmunoterapia
  • Mycobacterium vaccae
  • Robert Koch
  • RUTI
  • Tuberculina


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