Immunity to Infectious Diseases

  • Timo UlrichsEmail author
Part of the Statistics for Biology and Health book series (SBH)


King Mithridates VI of Pontus (Black Sea region) who reigned from 132 to 63 BC and was known as a great enemy of the Roman Empire immunized himself against fungal toxins by administering small non-toxic amounts (he even wrote a book about toxins). As an autocratic ruler, he wanted to protect himself from assassination attempts by poisoned food and is nowadays considered the first known individual applying the principle of immunization. Besides the observation of immunization, the insight that some diseases are transmissible and that survival is often associated with protection from a secondary attack by the same disease forms the basis of immunology. Although in ancient times and the Middle Ages, its underlying mechanisms were still unknown, immunization with smallpox material for protection against this plague was very common in the Middle East and also in Europe and China.


Tuberculosis Control Fungal Toxin Antigen Processing Machinery Glycolipid Antigen Antigen Present Molecule 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Koch-Metschnikow-ForumBerlinGermany

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