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The treatment of disease by means of human or animal serum containing antibodies. Also known as immunotherapy.



the treatment of primarily infectious diseases of humans and animals by the injection of immune serums. The therapeutic effect is based on the phenomenon of passive immunity; microbes (toxins) are rendered harmless with antibodies (antitoxins), which are contained in serums obtained by hyperimmunization of animals, primarily horses. Purified and concentrated serums known as gamma globulins are also used in serotherapy; gamma globulins may be heterologous, meaning they are extracted from the serum of immunized animals, or homologous, meaning they are extracted from the serum of individuals who have been immunized or have had the disease.

Immune serums are used in the treatment of diphtheria (mainly in the initial stage of the disease), botulism, and poisonous snake bites, and gamma globulins are used in the treatment of influenza, anthrax, tetanus, pox, Russian spring-summer encephalitis, leptospirosis, and staphylococcus infections, especially those caused by microbes resistant to antibiotics. In order to prevent possible complications during serotherapy, including anaphylactic shock and serum sickness, serums and heterologous gamma globulins are administered after a preliminary skin test according to a special method.

In veterinary medicine, immune serums, including gamma globulins, are used in the treatment of anthrax, hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle, sheep, and swine, anaerobic lamb dysentery, and swine erysipelas.