Until the discovery of the effectiveness of the original prontosil (the hydrochloride of 4-sulfonamido-2',4'-diaminoazobenzene) in the treatment of streptococcic and staphylococcic infections the chemotherapy of systemic bacterial diseases was largely disappointing. It is true that certain dyes, like gentian violet and acriflavine base as well as various mercurial compounds, commanded considerable attention and extensive clinical trial, with encouraging results in individual cases; but in general, original hopes and expectations were not realized. Indeed, aside from the helpful effects of neoarsphenamine in the treatment of anthrax and the clinically inapplicable treatment of pneumococcic infections with ethylhydrocupreine (optochin) base and its soluble derivative ethylhydrocupreine hydrochloride, the only site in which bacteria have been found vulnerable by systemic chemical attack has been the urinary tract, where conditions are exceptional. But, as I wrote in 1936:
I by no means share the skepticism so frequently expressed in regard to the future of the chemotherapy
KOLMER JA. PROGRESS IN CHEMOTHERAPY OF BACTERIAL AND OTHER DISEASES: WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE PRONTOSILS, SULFANILAMIDE AND SULFAPYRIDINE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1940;65(4):671–743. doi:10.1001/archinte.1940.00190100012002
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