Twenty-five years ago Rumpf expressed the opinion that the beneficial effects observed following the subcutaneous injections of a vaccine were the results of a nonspecific immunologic reaction. It has been only during the past five years that his contention has received serious attention from the medical profession.
In 1893, Fraenkel1 demonstrated that he could favorably influence the clinical course of his typhoid fever patients by treating them with subcutaneous injections of killed typhoid bacilli. His associate, Rumpf,2 went a step further and employed killed pyocyaneous bacilli instead of the typhoid bacilli. Since he obtained equally good results, he felt that he was justified in claiming that the beneficial reaction was of nonspecific character. However, Ehrlich's theory of the specificity of all immunologic reactions had such firm footing among the members of the medical profession that they refused to consider seriously the idea of a nonspecific therapy. In 1913, Victor Vaughan3