Pierre Paul Émile Roux

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Roux, Pierre Paul Émile

 

Born Dec. 17, 1853, in Confolens, Charente; died Nov. 3, 1933, in Paris. French microbiologist. Member of the French National Academy of Medicine (from 1895) and the Paris Academy of Sciences (from 1899).

Roux was Pasteur’s student and co-worker and, from 1878, Pasteur’s assistant at the Ecole Normale in Paris. Roux worked at the Pasteur Institute from 1888, becoming its director in 1904.

Roux initially studied the causative agents of anthrax, tetanus, and rabies and the toxins formed by these agents. Together with E. Metchnikoff, he initiated the experimental investigation of syphilis in monkeys. In the period 1888–90, Roux worked with A. Yersin. Together they isolated diphtheria toxin and studied its effects. They showed that paralyses and disturbances of cardiac activity caused by diphtheria are brought about by toxins of the diphtheria bacillus. On the basis of these investigations, Roux (in France) and E. Behring (in Germany) proposed an antidiphtheria antitoxin serum.

Roux was awarded a prize by the Paris Academy of Sciences and the French National Academy of Medicine.

WORKS

“Contribution à l’étude de la diphthèrie.” Annales de l’Institut Pasteur, 1888–90, vols. 2–4. (With A. Yersin.)

REFERENCE

Vaindrakh, G. “Emil’ Ru (1853–1933).” Zhurnal epidemiologii i mikrobiologii, 1934, no. 1.
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Of particular interest are a condolence letter, written by Emile Roux from Institute Pasteur to the widow of Joseph Hamoir, with whom Emile Roux worked on rinderpest, and a group photo, including Robert Koch, of his visit to the Imperial Veterinary Laboratory (currently Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Mukteshwar, India) in 1897 where he conducted experiments to immunize cattle with the bile taken from an animal that had succumbed in a virulent outbreak of rinderpest.
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Cinchona (and then purified quinine) won ready acceptance, as did the diphtheria antitoxin developed by Emile Roux in the 1890s, because, Ackerman argues, they demonstrably worked; there was even some popular demand in the later decades for disinfection services, in part, she suggests, because the treatment of infected bedding killed vermin.
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Pierre Paul Emile Roux, an assistant of Louis Pasteur, proved that the diphtheria bacterium produced toxin (23).