Sulphamides, the first drugs to be effective against a number of infectious diseases, arrived in the thirties to revolutionize the treatment of these conditions, until then highly fatal. This article, published in the journal Medicina Clínica, describes these drugs by way of pieces of information published throughout their history.
This work compiles some of the news appearing in the press of that time –The New York Times, specifically– and discloses some very interesting historical facts on the first synthetic antibiotic. For instance, important news made the headlines in North American newspapers on the morning of 17 December 1936: one of president Roosevelt’s sons, Franklin Delano Jr., had overcome an otherwise fatal streptococcal infection thanks to a new drug. This is how the public first came into contact with sulphamides.
Reports emphasizing the potential of this new family of drugs immediately began to follow, making sulphamides one of the most important scientific discoveries of the century. It was “the most important advance ever” in the treatment of a set of infectious diseases. Sulphamides, developed in 1935 by German scientist Gerhard Domagk, were also effective against conditions such as puerperal fever, cerebrospinal meningitis, pneumonia, or erysipelas, a serious infectious skin disease.
The importance of sulphamides during World War II, or how its discoverer Gerhard Domagk was forced by Adolph Hitler to refuse the Nobel Prize in 1939, are other curiosities included in this special article of Medicina Clínica. Under the title “Historical facts of sulphamides divulged by the press: the ‘The New York Times’ case” and co-authored by Foundation’s Pol Morales and Fèlix Bosch, this article is available in Issue 17 of Volume 128 of the journal.