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December 25, 1943

Current Comment

JAMA. 1943;123(17):1120-1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840520036013

PATULIN FOR THE COMMON COLD  Recent reports from London1 describe work with a preparation called "patulin" for the common cold. This substance is a metabolic product of penicillium patulum and has now been identified as anhydro-3-hydroxymethylene-tetrahydro-γ-pyrone-2-carboxylic acid. After an extensive description of the chemistry of this substance, clinical experiences with it in cases of the common cold are reported by Gye and by Hopkins. Nearly 100 patients and 85 controls were involved. One of the patients showing dramatic improvement was Gye himself. A high proportion of the persons treated seemed to show recovery in a much more rapid and complete fashion than would have been expected without treatment. From this small sample the statistician Major Greenwood deduced that the results in the treated group would have been most unlikely to occur from pure chance alone. In the Lancet a week after publication of these reports appeared a communication