This chapter deals with the discovery and application of the antibody-antigen reaction in the form of inoculation, variolation and vaccination to induce immunity - at first to smallpox, later to other diseases and common afflictions such as rabies, anthrax and cholera, caused by microorganisms.
The work of the pioneers in this field and their discoveries is briefly described here.
The in vitro applications of the antibody-antigen reaction - mainly in the form of radioimmunoassays - is covered and includes the early development of this technique both in assay design and data reduction, which allowed the rapid acceptance of radioimmunoassay in clinical diagnostic procedures, especially in the fields of endocrinology, microbiology and pharmacology.
The successors to radioimmunoassay which use non-radioisotopic labels have also been described in detail as well as listing the pioneers in immunoassay development.
The above topics have been considered in the context of antigen-antibody reactions and some of the persons who can be termed pioneers in this area of predominantly medically-related research.