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German biochemist Gerhard Domagk

German biochemist Gerhard Domagk

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964), German biochemist and discoverer of the sulphonamide antibacterial drugs. In 1927 he began to test a series of new dyes made by I.G. Farben as drugs against strepto- coccal infections in mice; the dye Prontosil Red proved to be the most highly effective. Further research showed that the effective agent, sulphan- ilamide, is formed in the body as the dye is broken down. Sulphanilamide & related 'sulpha' drugs vastly improved the treatment of bacterial infections (such as pneumonia and streptococcal infections), and they are still valuable despite the subsequent dominance of penicillin and other antibiotics. Domagk won the Nobel Prize in 1939.

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