Remembering Emil von Behring: from Tetanus Treatment to Antibody Cooperation with Phagocytes

mBio. 2017 Feb 28;8(1):e00117-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00117-17.


A century ago, Emil von Behring passed away. He was the first to be honored by the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1901 for the successful therapy of diphtheria and tetanus, which he had developed from the bench to the bed. He also contributed to the foundation of immunology, since his therapy was based on passive immunization with specific antisera. Being an ambitious character, he did not shy away from friction with his colleagues Paul Ehrlich and Elias Metchnikoff and his mentor, Robert Koch. Behring was not only an excellent translational researcher but also a successful entrepreneur and early proponent of public-private partnerships.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Editorial
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Diphtheria / therapy*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Phagocytes / immunology
  • Tetanus / therapy*


  • Antibodies

Personal name as subject

  • Emil von Behring