Germ Theory
New Advance

Germ Theory



  • Chemistry



  • Access to other Advances


Medical practice evolved from ascribing all ills to spirits or demons to diagnosis and treatment of physical symptoms, but the causes behind the symptoms remained a mystery until the discovery of Germ Theory. This development opens the door to all the Advances in modern medicine.


For centuries the basic causes of diseases remained a mystery. Physicians could only treat symptoms and imperfectly identify causes, such as defining ’bad humours’ from swamps as the cause of malaria when in fact it was mosquitoes from those swamps that spread it. Finally, in 1861 Louis Pasteur published paper that convincing demolished the age-old "spontaneous generation" theory of disease causation and, incidentally, first sets out the Germ Theory of disease. A few years later in 1865 Joseph Lister in Glasgow, Scotland discovers that carbolic acid kills germs and sharply reduces the incidence of infection in surgery. Applications of the germ theory result in an unprecedented increase in the survival rate of patients: having finally identified the cause of disease, doctors can begin to effectively combat diseases instead of merely alleviating symptoms.