Immunology is a relatively novel new specialty compared to the many other subdisciplines of medicine. It is difficult to begin explorations of medical history to know exactly where the driving force behind immunology began. There are clearly multiple heroes in the distant past who began with such basic concepts as allergy, anaphylaxis, and host defense. Among these was Clemens Von Pirquet. Although Von Pirquet’s work has long been forgotten, other than by allergists, his tuberculin test is still in usage, although the name of the discoverer is no longer associated with it. Von Pirquet was born in 1874 in a small town near Vienna. His ancestors originally came from Belgium, and at that time, and in fact until the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, that region of Belgium was an Austrian province. Von Pirquet and his work at the Vienna School of Medicine became famous, and although he did not grasp the concept of autoimmunity, he did champion the thesis that the immune system could do harm. There is but one definitive biography of Clemens Von Pirquet and that is published by one of his last students, the famous Tufts University-New England Medical Center pediatrician, Richard Wagner .
ASJC Scopus subject areas