In the decade from 1935-1945, while the Second World War raged in Europe, a new class of medicines capable of controlling bacterial infections launched a therapeutic revolution that continues today. The new medicines were not penicillin and antibiotics, but sulfronamides, or sulfa drugs. The sulfa drugs preceded penicillin by almost a decade, and during World War II they carried the main therapeutic burden in both military and civilian medicine. Their success stimulated a rapid expansion of research and production in the international pharmaceutical industry, raised expectations of medicine, and accelerated the appearance of new and powerful medicines based on research. This book examines this breakthrough in medicine, pharmacy, and science in three parts. Part I shows that an industrial research setting was crucial to the success of the revolution in therapeutics that emerged from medicinal chemistry. Part II shows how national differences shaped the reception of the sulfa drugs in Germany, France, Britain, and the United States. The author uses press coverage of the day to explore popular perceptions of the dramatic changes taking place in medicine. Part III documents the impact of the sulfa drugs on the American effort in Word War II.

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