Letter from Arie C. Van Ravenswaay, United States Army Air Forces to Michael Heidelberger
During World War II Heidelberger developed a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia that was tested among 20,000 trainees
at an air base in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The test, in which half the trainees received the vaccine while the other half
did not, proved that a vaccine made from a mixture of purified capsular polysaccharides from four different types of pneumococcus
was effective against the disease.
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1944-06-01 (June 1, 1944)
Van Ravenswaay, Arie C.
United States Army Air Forces
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
The Air Surgeon is planning at the suggestion and with the advice of Doctor MacLeod to conduct a study at the Amy Air Base
at Sioux Falls, South Dakota during the coming year in the prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia with the specific capsular
carbohydrates. Miss Pauli whom you may know is setting up plans in regard to personnel and equipment. She will be responsible
for the training of the personnel involved and for the bacteriological portion of the study. I have asked her to discuss
with you other phases of the purposed study and to get your advice and recommendations concerning them.
Doctor MacLeod has mentioned the possibility of your doing an agglutination study of the serological response produced by
vaccination as mentioned above. I hope that it will be possible to work this out so that it can be done by you or under your
supervision. We have of course adequate funds for the development of projects of this kind.