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November 4, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(19):1704-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800440008004

The bacteriostatic theory explains the curative effects of sulfanilamide in infections in small laboratory animals as due primarily to the bacteriostatic action of the drug. As a consequence of the reduced number of organisms, there is secondary reduction in the elaboration of toxic substances (leukocidin, hemolysin and the like). The theory states that under these conditions the natural defense mechanism of the body frees the tissues of the infecting organisms.

Bliss and Long,1 basing their conclusion chiefly on the results of experiments with mouse peritonitis caused by the Welch bacillus, reported that the only demonstrable effect of sulfanilamide on this organism was bacteriostasis. Gay and Clark,2 working with rabbit empyema caused by a hemolytic streptococcus of human origin, concluded that the primary effect of the drug was bacteriostasis.

Colebrook, Buttle and O'Meara3 had earlier noted that the blood and serum of human beings and laboratory animals possessed

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