When biomedicine speaks the truth it also speaks morals.
—didier fassin, When Bodies Remember
It doesn’t matter if you are hiv-positive or negative. The world has
aids. And if you give a shit about the world you have it too.
—adam levin, AidSafari
Conclusio
Immune CommunItIes, Common ImmunItIe
This book ends where immunology begins. In the decades after Metc
nikoff introduces immunity-as-defense, the concept takes on a life of
own. Soon his German rivals, especially Paul Erlich, appropriate Metc
nikoff ’s rubric but reject his cellular orientation. They redirect the stu
of immunity toward biochemistry and adapt Koch’s idea of specificity
molecules, presaging the antigen-antibody reactions that preoccupy i
munology for much of the twentieth century.1 Exploiting dyes used
stain bacteria for microscopic analysis, they also begin to experiment wi
chemical means to ameliorate illnesses, foreshadowing antibiotic tre
ments. Not surprisingly, immunology starts to turn a profit. Almost
soon as Pasteur validates his vaccines, he markets them. His antirabi
vaccine inspires great enthusiasm, and he licenses labs, like the one Metc
nikoff briefly runs in Odessa, to produce it. (Koch too tries to capitalize
his experimental success but fails rather spectacularly when Tubercul
his supposed treatment for tuberculosis, proves ineffective; neverthele
the infectious desire for profit thrives.)2 Pasteur also dispatches minio
around the globe to investigate the bacterial sources of “colonial” diseas
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