The stress and uncertainty surrounding the COVID epidemic, as well as misconceptions about life-saving vaccines were made in response. broke many weak minds over the past two years, leading people to experiment with everything from injection and spraying with nebulized hydrogen peroxide, to dropping worms on horses in an attempt to misdiagnose modern medicine. Surprisingly, nothing works. Worse still, this behavior is not unusual. Quack homeopathic medicine has been around for centuries – treating bubonic plague through blood, self-control, or being in hot tubs to get rid of malaria, e.g. – with the help of a little evidence.
In their latest book, Zero Patient: A History of the Worst Disease in the World, Dr. Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen study the fascinating history of the most dangerous human diseases and the humanitarian efforts of scientists who have developed cures, vaccines and drugs. In the article below, we will look at the distribution of antibiotics and antimicrobials in the fight against diphtheria, anthrax, and other serious infections.
Taken from Zero Patient: Amazing History of the Worst Disease in the World by Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen. Workman Publishing © 2021
Apart from putting up barriers between us and the plagues, the next major step in overcoming them was to attack them directly, thanks to advances in science that made and invented antibiotics and antitoxins. Some of these drugs are not only used to fight pathogens such as bacteria, but also work as antifungal, antivirals, antiparasitics. Today, there are more than a hundred types of medicines in this category. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a list of medicines that are considered essential for national health care to provide better care for its citizens, and a large proportion of these essential medicines fight infectious diseases.
Some may think that penicillin was the first known drug that was found in the fight against viruses, but there were several that led to it and it became very popular when it was discovered.
The Prussian-born Emil von Behring was a distinguished physician and promoter of Robert Koch’s Institute for Hygiene in Berlin. In 1888, he developed a method for treating patients with diphtheria and tetanus. Not the most common disease nowadays, diphtheria is vaccinated against a vaccine that is often combined with your own tetanus shot. During the 19th century, diphtheria was a highly fatal disease that inflamed the victim’s heart, paralyzed him, and caused a small rash that blocked his throat. In Spain, the disease was widespread in 1613 named Year of Garrotillos, or “Panting Year.”
Many infections caused by diphtheria are caused by a toxin produced by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Von Behring infected rats, rabbits, and weakened pigs, then collected their serum — the fluid portion of their blood, removing red and white blood cells. The bright, honey-colored water, which contained antibodies to diphtheria poisoning, was injected into a group of animals infected with the deadly diphtheria bacteria.
Infected animals where they were given serum did not die because they found a way to protect themselves from the toxins and serums supplied. In 1891, the baby’s life was saved using this new method for the first time. The serum was mostly made from animals such as sheep and horses. At a time when 50,000 children were dying each year from diphtheria, it was a miraculous cure.
Tetanus serum was soon developed, and it became a useful drug by 1915. Today, antimicrobials are used to treat botulism, diphtheria, and anthrax. The same principles of antitoxin are used to treat fatal wounds of animals, including black spiders, scorpions, jellyfish, and cobras. Passive antibody therapy, in which the serum of recovered patients is given to other patients (also called convalescent plasma therapy), may be helpful in the COVID-19 epidemic, although more is coming. Antibodies against the disease can not only cure diseases like toxic shock syndrome, but also prevent infections during exposure, such as hepatitis A and B and botulism. But the antibodies themselves have been used to treat more than just bites, stings, and infections. Immunoglobulins produced from co-donors treat various ailments, such as ITP (immune thrombocytopenia) and severe autoimmune diseases.
Other antibody treatments — monoclonal antibodies — have undergone healing in the last decade or so, the first FDA-approved method in 1986. These unique antibodies are used to treat several types of cancer (melanoma, breast, and cancer. diarrhea, among many others) and autoimmune diseases (including Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis). The same antibodies are Y-type proteins that bind to a specific protein. By doing this, they can bring about a variety of effects: switching on or off the immune system, destroying cells, blocking or activating cellular activity. Antibodies are bound to a single antigen, hence “mono,” and are made up of a number of cells that produce more antibodies. They can also be bound to tiny radioactive particles, delivering radioactivity directly to the cancer cell. Some can be treated with chemotherapy. They often work alone.
When it comes to cancer treatment, most of us understand chemotherapy. But the source of the words chemotherapy alone came from a war-torn disease, not cancer. By the early 1900’s, antibiotics had not yet developed themselves as a cure for the disease. This was changed by a physician and a scientist named Paul Ehrlich. He was born in 1854 in East Prussia (now Poland) where his father ran the lottery office. During his career, he took advantage of the German paint industry to experiment with the appearance of cells with various chemicals. His love of color led to the notion of familiarity, such as carrying colored pencil bags in his pockets. But Ehrlich’s work led to what could be known as Ziehl-Neelsen acid-fast-tuberculosis. (Unfortunately, he also contaminated his actual TB bacteria from his sputum, although he accidentally survived the infection.) He later teamed up with Emil von Behring, mentioned earlier, a Nobel Prize-winning physical therapist, for the treatment of tetanus serum. and diphtheria.
But perhaps Ehrlich’s discovery was the result of an accident when he sought a chemotherapy. Specifically, he hoped to cure sleep apnea, a disease caused by a microscopic bacterium called Trypanosoma brucei. He was working with a chemical called atoxyl (meaning “non-toxic”), a wonderful arsenic compound. Ehrlich coined the term “magic bullet” in connection with his hope of finding a perfect cure that would hopefully kill germs, Trypanosoma the parasite, not the patient. He completed experimenting with nine hundred different types of arsenic compounds in mice. Nothing was too helpful, but he also reviewed # 606 because it appeared to be affecting newly discovered bacteria that are believed to cause syphilis. In 1910, the Salvarsan drug (sometimes called “606”) proved to be effective – it killed spirochete syphilis and left pigs, rabbits, and mice alive.
In the next few decades, new research will be used to combat the old epidemics, as well as everyday diseases that can improve people’s lives. Whipping or biting can be as deadly as that Staphylococcus or Streptococcus the disease spread uncontrollably. The German scientist Gerhard Domagk began working with a group of azo dyes that combined two nitrogen compounds. Azo dye can adorn fabrics, skins, and a variety of brightly colored oranges, reds, and yellows. When a group of azoe developed a group of sulfonamide (a compound of nitrogen and sulfur consisting of two oxygen atoms double bound to sulfur, if you need to entertain friends at a party), they knew they had found something special. The sulfonamide group prevents bacteria from producing folate, an essential vitamin B. People, on the other hand, have access to folate through their diet. And so another magical bullet was born. This new group appeared to be working in mice with the virus Streptococcus, called strep.
Domagk used a new drug, called KL 730 and was later given a patent called Prontosil, on his daughter Hildegard. After suffering a stroke, he was shot with Prontosil and recovered, although the drug left a reddish, reddish color on the injection site.
Sulfa drugs can be used in a variety of medications, including antibiotics (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, aka Bactrim), glucose (glyburide, sulfonylurea), diuretics (furosemide, or Lasix), painkillers (celecoxib, or Celebrex), and is also used today to treat pneumonia, skin and soft tissue diseases, and urinary tract infections, among others.
Domagk’s work won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. However, the Nazis, who did not support the Nobel committee’s efforts to help German warlord Carl von Ossietzky, were arrested by the Gestapo for refusing to pay the prize. He was able to receive it later in 1947.
All sales supported by Engadget are selected by our writing team, independent of our parent company. Some of our articles include links to links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may be able to find a partner.