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January 13, 1951


Author Affiliations


Director, Medical Divisions of the Pennsylvania Hospital and the Benjamin Franklin Clinic (Dr. Duncan); bacteriologist, Pennsylvania Hospital (Dr. Clancy); Rutgers University research associate at the Pennsylvania Hospital (Dr. Wolgamot), and assistant physician to outpatients, Pennsylvania Hospital (Dr. Beidleman).

JAMA. 1951;145(2):75-80. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920200015005

Neomycin, one of the newer antibiotic agents, is produced by a species of Streptomyces fradiae present in the soil. It was discovered by Waksman and Lechevalier1 in their search for an antibiotic agent that would be effective against streptomycin-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Neomycin is a basic compound readily soluble in water and most active in an alkaline medium. It is relatively thermostabile and is active against numerous gram-positive and gramnegative organisms. It is active also against streptomycin-resistant organisms; it has considerable in vitro activity against different forms of Myco. tuberculosis, in some instances showing greater activity than streptomycin. Since there is considerable tendency on the part of tubercle bacilli to develop resistance to streptomycin, the therapeutic possibilities of neomycin against clinical tuberculosis are being pursued. Waksman and his associates2 also found that neomycin had only limited toxicity in laboratory animals and was highly effective in vivo against