European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology 2 (2012) 4, p. 260 DOI: 10.1556/EuJMI.2.2012.4.2
Getting old is no mark of distinction. Old age, however, sometimes solicits reflections as to whether one's time lived on this Earth has produced enough benefits to other humans as to justify some feeling of satisfaction. This certainly has overcome me when I learned that people whom I had been associated with during my professional career organized a scientific meeting on the occasion of my 75th birthday and, moreover, were to devote a special issue of a scientific journal to me. Indeed, ever since my most respected teachers, William Barry Wood and George B. Mackaness, had initiated me to cell-mediated immunity against facultative intracellular bacteria, I became a macrophage enthusiast, a ‘Metschnikowite’. Although in laboratory work, we used the easier-to-handle listeriosis model of T-cell mediated immunity, tuberculosis was the real intellectual challenge behind and ultimate subject of scientific interests. Maybe it was so because of ‘who understands Tb, understands medicine’. It was therefore natural to combine my scientific interests in cell-mediated immunity with some adventuresome curiosity in Russia to start Koch–Metschnikow-Forum (KMF) as a German–Russian endeavour aiming at harmonizing Russian and German health work, particularly in fighting infections. Aided by some good luck and by the help of both German and Russian institutions and individuals, Koch– Metschnikow-Forum has by now grown into a small, albeit effective, organization, officially recognized in 2006 as an initiative of the Petersburg Dialog and mandated by the Russian President Putin and the German Chancellor Dr. Merkel. Working totally independently and driven by the enthusiasm of its members and sponsors, KMF now plays an important role in the process of harmonization of Russian and German Health systems. The results of KMF's activities have become the factual basis of the Russian–German Treaty on Health signed in 2010; the membership of Russia in the M8 Alliance of leading Nations in health work and Russia's participation in the World Health Summit all have resulted from the efforts of KMF. Numerous congresses, symposia, seminars and lectures going to the credit of KMF, have brought scientists and medical specialists from both countries together and have fostered the scientific exchange between the two countries. This volume describes work which has been done in the aftermath of the ‘Berlin Declaration on Tuberculosis’. What had originally been a manifesto by a small group of Tuberculosis fighters has by now developed into an internationally recognized guideline and yardstick in the fight against tuberculosis. One mainstay of this effort is the work of KMF. It is my great honor to become the subject of a special issue of this young, albeit ambitious, journal. I wish the editorial committee good luck in its future endeavours, and I hope that many readers will benefit from the international scope of this journal and in this way will help to spread the message: ‘Microbiology forever’.
Helmut Hahn, MD Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology, Charité Berlin; Foreign Member of RAMS, the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
ISSN 2062-509X / $ 20.00 © 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest