1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ehrlich, Paul

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EHRLICH, PAUL (1854-1915), German bacteriologist, was born in Silesia March 14 1854, of Jewish parentage. He was educated at Breslau and Strassburg, where he studied medicine. He was soon drawn towards research in chemistry, and in his earlier years carried out various important investigations in aniline dyes. He was at the same time winning fame as a bacteriologist, and in 1907 discovered a red dye, known as “trypan red,” which effected the complete sterilization of animals infected with trypanosomes, a work of enormous importance for the treatment of diseases caused by these parasites. He considerably improved the technique of serum preparation, and also discovered a method by which the potency of the anti-diphtheria toxin could be tested. He also investigated the problems of cancer. Ehrlich's most famous discovery, however, was made in connexion with his researches into venereal diseases. It was announced in 1910 that he had prepared an arsenical compound, known as salvarsan or “606,” which was a cure for syphilis. He lectured in London in 1907, and in 1913 attended the medical congress held there. He received many honours from his Government and marks of distinction from almost every university and scientific society. He died at Homburg Aug. 20 1915.

See Paul Ehrlich: eine Darstellung seines wissenschaftlichen Wirkens, Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstage des Forschers (1914).