Biological Studies in South Africa


THE South African Journal of Medical Sciences, published quarterly by the University of Wit-watersrand and the South African Institute for Medical Research, is devoted to original work in any of the sciences represented in the medical curriculum. C. de V. Bevan contributes to the February 1944 issue (9, No. 1) an interesting article on the cultivation of the South African Rickettsiæ in developing chicks and the preparation of vaccines from the membranes of these. Dilute egg vaccines do not, he concludes, protect guinea pigs against epidemic infection, although they protect wholly against tick-borne infection and partially against endemic infection. Concentrated vaccines must be used in order to obtain complete protection against epidemic typhus produced by inoculation of guinea pigs with egg-passaged strains. A modified Machiavello technique for staining Rickettsiae is described. The author finds that clearer staining is obtained if the smears are cleared in benzene. Bacteria and Rickettsiæ ground in a mortar with alundum are disintegrated. The development of the chick-embryo method will provide, the author thinks, smaller quantities of a far more potent vaccine than any that has yet been produced. The advantages of the egg-vaccine over the mammalian vaccines are discussed.

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