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Diphtheria is caused due to the Gram +ve bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria. The bacterium first discovered by German scientists Edwin Klebs and Friedrich Löffler in 1884.
The exotoxin released by Corynebacterium diphtheria is known as Diphtheria toxin. The toxin is discovered by Pierre Paul Émile Roux and Alexandre Emile Jean Yersin in 1888.
The diphtheria antitoxin was discovered by German biologist Emil von Behring for which he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901.