Man's physical universe

xanabras

768 MAN'S PHYSICAL WELFARE

used with varying degrees of success in killing these fungi. Sulfur or

mercury ointments are effective in some cases; tincture of iodine,

mercurochrome, or merthiolate are effective in other cases; mixtures

of carbolic acid with iodine are especially effective, but must be used

with discrimination because carbolic acid is dangerous to use, especially

on open sores.

Malaria, a Scourge of the Tropics, Is Yielding to Chemotherapy.

Malaria has been wiped out in some sections of the world by eliminating

the breeding places of the anopheles mosquito, but malaria still

kills approximately 1,000,000 people annually. There are from

70,000,000 to 80,000,000 sufferers from malaria in India alone. For

many years to come it will be impossible to destroy the anopheles

mosquito in India, China, and the tropical zones of the world. Even

screening dwellings or sleeping under nets is out of the question for

many people. Malaria is caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite,

Plasmodium malariae. Quinine, an alkaloid obtained from the bark of

a tree in Java and South America, widely used in the treatment of

malaria, is not effective in many cases; there is not enough of it, and

it

costs too much in some of the parts of the world where malaria is

widespread. A new synthetic chemical, plasmoquine, is superior to

quinine in some cases, and the recently developed atebrine is also a

valuable antimalarial; but there is a great need for something better.

Paul Ehrlich's Arsphenamine Was the First Great Milestone in Chemotherapy.

A specific is a substance that exerts a special action in the prevention

or cure of disease. Up until the past few years it appeared that no

substance could be found which would be effective in treating different

kinds of infections because microorganisms differ so much in their

nature and mode of attack on the human body. Paul Ehrlich's observation

that certain dyes would stain only one kind of tissue led to the

idea that substances might be found which would be specific for certain

kinds of microorganisms. Ehrlich selected the trypanosomes which

cause sleeping sickness as his particular enemy to attack. After trying

many dyes, always with negative results, he heard about a new compound

of arsenic, atoxyl. Atoxyl was not effective against sleeping

sickness, but Ehrlich believed that a derivative of atoxyl might be the

specific which he was seeking. He directed the work of a fine staff of

chemists in his well-equipped laboratory, and after preparing and

testing 605 such derivatives in 1909, his 606th compound, arsphenamine

(dioxydiamine arsenobenzene hydrochloride) proved to be

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines