WASSERMANN TEST

August von Wassermann (1866-1925), born in Romberg, Bavaria, received his medical degree and then joined the research community of the Robert Koch Institute of Infectious Diseases in Berlin. In 1913, he joined the staff of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute at Dahlen, near Berlin, as its director. He wrote many scientific papers and conducted research on many diseases. But his outstanding work, together with Albert Neisser and Carl Bruck — certainly the one that made him famous — was a blood test for the diagnosis of syphilis, known professionally as the cardiolipin test. This test is made by examining the blood of the patient. If the patient has syphilis, the sample submitted for the test will prove positive. Even though present-day methods of diagnosing syphilis have supplanted the method introduced by the Wassermann test, the test for syphilis still honors the name of the great physician.