Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964) and the Origin of Anti- Bacterial Therapy

2018 Internal Medicine Research Open Journal  
This article presents the story of Gerhard Domagk, who was responsible for developing Prontosil, the first effective antibacterial agent. Although penicillin was serendipitously discovered by Alexander Fleming before Prontosil, because of expert chemical support, the forerunner of the sulfonamides was the first antibiotic produced commercially and patented. Even though his work created the age of anti-bacterial therapy, in my view Domagk did not receive the acclaim he deserved. This essay
more » ... d. This essay examines the circumstances surrounding Domagk's work, as well as focusing on the other individuals involved in the project who ultimately contributed to its success. The paper also explains how biomedical scientists and chemists integrated their respective expertise to achieve their respective goals. Prior to the work of Domagk, the concept that a bacterial infection could be cured by the systemic administration of a chemical substance was thought by most clinicians to be unrealistic and even foolhardy Although Gerhard Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1939, in my view, the scientific community tends to view him as a marginal figure, as compared to Alexander Fleming and Selman Waksman, the discoverer of streptomycin. Domagk not only ushered in the new era of chemotherapy, but he set the landscape by demonstrating to other investigators that infection could be cured. Because there has been no greater advancement in clinical medicine than the advent of anti-bacterial therapy, Domagk's monumental contributions to the welfare of mankind should continue to be revisited and celebrated with the highest accolades.
doi:10.31038/imroj.2018322 fatcat:xy63aidi3jc5tdxrukb7vpq7ma