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September 22, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(4):280. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860380038014

In 1942 Waksman and his associates1 of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station described two new antibiotics, each of which was superior to penicillin in its bacteriostatic action on gram positive bacteria in vitro. One of these they named "clavacin" after the organism from which it was isolated (Aspergillus clavatus). Clavacin was particularly interesting since it was also bactericidal in high dilution against gram negative micro-organisms and bacteriostatic for certain common fungi. Since then clavicin has been isolated in crystalline form.

On first view, clavacin is of little clinical interest since it is highly toxic on intravenous or intramuscular injection into animals. Herrick2 of the Hygienic Laboratory, University of Michigan, however, calls attention to the fact that many antibiotics are toxic on parenteral injection but most of them are nontoxic when given orally or applied externally. Since most fungous diseases are both local and superficial in character, the