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'The Preparation of Diphtheria Antitoxin and Prophylactics', B&W Sound, Copy 22

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Black and white film with sound c.40mins duration.

Created by GB Instructional Company Ltd and the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories. Title credits include A T Glenny, and the commentator was Alver Liddell.
The film opens with views of the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories and the Beckenham stables, at the time still operating under wartime conditions. Followed by:
* Various patients and describes the national social campaign for the immunisation of infants (includes shots of poster).
* In depth description of diphtheria with diagrams.
* Explanation of toxins, antitoxin and carriers.
* Explains development of antitoxin - shows animal experimentation (rabbits and guinea pigs).
* The preparation of the antitoxin, shows the laboratories (includes views of women in the labs) and the production of 'broth', this being left to 'culture' and then the culture being moved to the Filter Room.
* Filtering process, then the culture being tested after filtering.
* Incubation of toxin for several weeks and the development of toxoid immunising agents.
The film then moves to the stables and shows production of serum in horses:
* Choice of horses (e.g. best horses 6 years old).
* Isolation period for horses to ensure health.
* Close up of individual horse 'Record Card'.
* Horse tested for natural diphtheria and anti-sera levels.
* Course of immunisation giving increasing does of diphtheria toxoid. Horse under constant supervision with regular blood samples sent to the laboratories for testing.
* When the horse was ready the horse was bled over a given period (film emphasised the employment of a vet for all these activities).

The film moved back to the Laboratories and showed the extraction of the antitoxin:
* Antitoxin extracted from blood taken from the horses.
* The plasma was then filtered and the clear liquid processed to create precipitated antitoxin.
* This was further filtered to create a 'cake'.
* This was processed via dialysis which removed ammonium sulphate.
* Further processed and refined.

The film then showed the process of testing of the antitoxin
* Testing for potency and purity - again includes animal experiments.
* Standardisation of serum for issue purposes in accordance with the Therapeutic Substances Act (again views of women in the labs).
* Packing of serum in sealed glass ampoules, and then packaging for distribution.
* Details of storage and longevity of product (3 years).

The film then showed a doctor's surgery and the effects of immunisation:
* Explanation of Passive & Active Immunisation.
* Schick test for natural immunity.
* Various tests and graphs.
* Views of Labs: Production of TAF (required 2 doses) and APT ( required 3 doses) and the dis/advantages of both.
* Views of Doctors Surgery with children being tested.

Concluding scenes show the Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories development since 1894 and the fall from a 50% death rate to 5% in the event of a diphtheria outbreak. Also pointed out that in the [second world] war 8000 children were killed by bombs [in the UK?], but 9000 by diphtheria.



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Please see main WF collection description (ref. 'WF').

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Copyright assigned to the Wellcome Trust

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