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August 12, 1950


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Presbyterian Hospital, New York.

JAMA. 1950;143(15):1303-1308. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910500005002

Terramycin is an antibiotic derived from Streptomyces rimosus, a new species of actinomycete isolated from a soil sample by Finlay and his associates.1 It is amphoteric and forms a hydrochloride and a sodium salt. Preliminary studies by Finlay and his colleagues showed that terramycin had a low degree of toxicity in animals and that the crystalline hydrochloride salt possessed a wide range of antibacterial activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms in vitro, as well as having a significant effect on experimental infections with Rickettsiae and certain viruses. Administration to human subjects indicated that the antibiotic was well tolerated when given by mouth and that it was absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract in sufficient amounts to give effective therapeutic concentrations in the blood and urine. The present report deals with the use of terramycin in the treatment of patients with pneumococcic lobar pneumonia and with primary atypical (virus) pneumonia.