What are Wonder Drugs?
The wonder drugs are a series of antibiotics that were discovered and have saved many lives. They were all discovered by trial and error or accident. They were discovered in the 19th and early 20th century. The main ones are aspirin, sulfa drugs, and penicillin. They were able to cure infections rather than other treatments the just helped prevent infections. The cure to infections before them was amputation.
Key History and Chemistry
In the late 19th century Felix Hoffman decided to investigate the properties of compounds related to salicylic acid.It is a pain relieving molecule that was originally isolated from the bark of a willow tree.Even though the salicin molecule contains a glucose it tastes bitter from the rest of the molecule. Salicin can break down into 2 parts which are glucose and salicyl alcohol. Then the salicyl alcohol can be oxidized into salicylic acid. They are both classified as phenols because they have an OH group directly attached to the benzene ring. Salicylic acid reduces fever, relieves pain, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The problem is it can be very irritating to the lining of the stomach. Felix Hoffman was interested in these compounds because his dad had rheumatoid arthritis. he cured his father by giving him acetyl salicylic acid, a derivative of salicylic acid. Its great properties caused the Bayer company to market it in 1899. They called it aspirin. When the demand for aspirin increased there wasn’t enough natural sources to satisfy the demand. The Bayer company then bought a lot of phenol but the problem was that this was during World War 1 so that phenol couldn’t be used to make the explosives for the war which could have affected the outcome some. Today aspirin is the most popular drug with over 40 million pounds being produced every year in the U.S.
Aspirin has been a very prominent and potent drug in the history and development of this country. I think it will continue to be one of the most important and most common household drug. The majority of medicines will eventually be replaced but aspirin is here to stay for the little problems.
The authors did a great job explaining the chemistry and historical effects of wonder drugs. They showed the evolution of the wonder drugs and how they’re related to other compounds. They showed how these drugs have saved people’s lives and how they are better than the previous drug or method. The advancement from amputation to penicillin is gigantic and has been crucial in the lives of people. They also show how drugs aren’t always planned and are sometimes discovered by accident. They showed the impact of these drugs on people’s lives everyday.