Keep on Going

Regarding your article on the history of immunology,1 why stop at the 1970s? Why not go back to the 1920s--Metalnikov's work on conditioned responses of the immune system, à la Pavlov, at the Pasteur Institute, and Hans Selye's initial ideas on the "syndrome of just being sick." One of the great problems in immunology research in the 20th century was its almost total domination by medical infectious disease specialists looking into clonal immunity. In some ways this is the least important role of the immune system, and one that it carries out poorly, because infectious disease epidemics usually only arise under conditions of overpopulation. It is the everyday fight against small breaches of body integrity due to trauma, etc., that prevents us from being literally eaten alive by common microorganisms that is much more fundamental.

The immune system also needs to be looked at from a...

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