Sunday 6 December 2020


On this date at the medical campus of the Collรจge de Paris in 1890, physiologist Charles Robert Richet (*1850 – †1935) successfully demonstrated that a form of passive immunity can be built up and fortified by a convalescent transfusion of monoclonal, polyclonal antibodies from a previous disease survivor. Informing the field that would come to be known as serotherapy (antidotes, antitoxins and antivenoms) and also applying this gradual exposure method to combat and lessen allergic reactions, Richet was awarded a Nobel prize in 1913 for his pioneering work in anaphylaxis and prevented countless deaths from our own over-zealous bodies. Richet, however, had other notions which were opposed to the rigorous science that he helped progress in his championing of eugenics and white supremacy and a life-long devotion to the paranormal, over the years coining the term ectoplasm as well as “sixth sense,” articulating what those abilities might be: telekinesis, mediumship, etc. Richet did not react well to be shown his study subjects were fraudulent.