Medicine Through Time | Magic Bullets | Penicillin | Salversan 606 | Prontosil

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Magic Bullets

Magic bullets:

  1. Are taken internally by injection or tablet.
  2. Target only harmful bacteria, and do not attack healthy tissue.
    • SALVERSAN 606
    • Developed by Paul Ehrlich in 1910 on his 606th attempt.
    • It’s significance was spotted by chance by one of his assistants, Sahashiro Hata.
    • It was used to treat syphilis.
    • However, it wasn’t completely safe. It could kill the disease-causing microbes, but the patient as well.
    • It was significant because it was the first time a chemical compound had been used to destroy bacteria.


    • Example of a sulphonamide. Sulphonamides were effective in the treatment of scarlet fever, pneumonia and other diseases.
    • Developed by Gerharot Domagk.
    • Domagk experimented with mice at first, and got good results when he observed that Prontosil had an effect on the bacteria which cause blood poisoning. He tried it on his daughter when she developed severe blood poisoning. It was the first time Prontosil had been tested on a human. It was also very risky as his daughter was close to death. Domagk gave her a large dose, and the girl recovered. The second magic bullet had been found.
    • First discovered by John Sanderson in the nineteenth century.
    • It was used by Lister in the 1880s, but he


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