Robert Koch – the discoverer of the tuberculosis bacterium

Robert Koch was born on December 11, 1843 in Clausthal (Harz). After graduating from high school, he began his studies in 1862, initially turning to mathematics. After just two months, however, he discovered his interest in medicine.
During this time, anthrax was raging across Europe and many animals died from it. Robert Koch wanted to get to the bottom of this disease. At that time, small, rod-shaped bodies had been found in microscopic examinations, but their role in the course of the disease could not be defined. To date, it was also not yet clear whether these were living beings at all and how a possible route of infection should work.

Certain pathogens cause certain diseases

In 1876  , Robert Koch succeeded  in proving that these were actually living beings that grew, reproduced and produced resistant permanent forms (spores) which, under favorable conditions, are capable of developing new anthrax bacilli. Koch was the first to prove that certain diseases are caused by very specific pathogens.

A new science was born: bacteriology. The first pathogen had been discovered and could be cultivated in the laboratory. Now the possibility was created to develop methods that could fight the pathogen.

In 1877  , Koch perfected microscopy to improve the way bacterial cultures could be examined. It was possible to take the first microscopic photos of microorganisms.

In  1881  he published his improved method of growing bacterial cultures. The new technology enables a precise differentiation of the individual pathogen strains.

Koch – the discoverer of the tubercle bacterium

On March  24, 1882  , the discovery of the tuberculosis pathogen was published. The discovery of the tubercle bacterium was a great moment in medical research and at the same time the  high point of Koch’s scientific career . She pointed the way to overcoming one of the most devastating plagues. The discovery is considered definitive proof of the existence of bacterial pathogens.

In 1891  he became director of the Institute for Infectious Diseases, which had been set up for him and was later named the Robert Koch Institute. The  Robert Koch Institute (RKI)  in Berlin is now a central monitoring and research facility in Germany and reports directly to the Ministry of Health. 

In 1905  , Robert Koch received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his investigations and the discovery of tuberculin.

The Robert Koch Institute

The main tasks of the RKI are the detection,  prevention  and control of diseases, especially  infectious diseases . In addition, the RKI has an important task in the epidemiological and medical analysis and evaluation of diseases with a high level of danger.

 

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