Robert Koch Institute

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The Robert Koch Institute (abbreviated RKI) is a German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention. It is located in Berlin and Wernigerode. As an upper federal agency, it is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health. It was founded in 1891 and is named for its founding director, the founder of modern bacteriology and Nobel laureate Robert Koch.


The institute's founding director and namesake, Nobel laureate Robert Koch

The Institute was formed by the later Nobel Prize laureate Robert Koch in 1891 as the Royal Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases.[1] Koch lived until the age of 66, when he died of a heart attack in Baden-Baden, in May 27, 1910. The director from 1917 to 1933 was Fred Neufeld who discovered the pneumococcal types. Neufeld's Deputy Director from 1919 to 1933 was Walter Levinthal.[2] The institute was renamed the Robert Koch Institute in 1942. In 1952 the institute became a subordinate agency of the Federal Health Agency. After the latter was dissolved in 1994, the Robert Koch Institute became an independent federal agency that is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health. Following the German reunification, some dissolved health agencies in the former East Germany were integrated in the Robert Koch Institute.



The Institute prepares a report on cancer in Germany every two years.[3] The institute also plays a role in advising the German government on outbreaks, such as the 2009 swine flu outbreak.[4] In 1941 the Institute was involved in setting up experiments into typhus vaccines at Buchenwald Concentration Camp which resulted in the deaths of 127 of the 537 camp inmates involved.[5]

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Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ RKI: History
  2. ^ Landmark Experiments in Molecular Biology, Michael Fry
  3. ^ RKI: Centre for Cancer Registry Data
  4. ^ "First suspected swine flu death in Germany". The Local. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  5. ^ Evans, Richard J. (2009). The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945 (reprint ed.). Penguin. ISBN 978-1101022306. 

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