This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Antistreptococcic Serum. - (Not official.) Streptococci do not cause the diseases due to them by developing a toxin which circulates in the blood, but by being themselves carried all over the body, which attempts to kill them by developing a toxin fatal to them. To prepare antistreptococcic serum the virulence of the streptococci is increased by their passage through several rabbits; they are then grown on a medium which preserves their virulence. A horse is next treated with successive doses of cultivations of these living streptococci, each more potent than the former.
Our experience of the value of antistreptococcic serum is limited, but it suggests itself as useful for those diseases which are principally due to infection by streptococci. Such are malignant endocarditis, erysipelas, surgical septicaemia, disease of the middle ear, thrombosis of the lateral sinus, and puerperal septicaemia. Successful cases of its use in these disorders have been recorded, and it might be used with advantage in any of the many diseases in which streptococci can be found. One great disadvantage of it is that it is always impossible to foretell whether it will be of use; this is because different cultivations of apparently the same streptococcus vary so widely in their properties that serum which is antibactericidal to one cultivation is not to another.