MicrobeWorld App

appsquarebannerad200x200

Microbes After Hours

MWbannerEbola

Click for more "Microbes After Hours" videos

Join MicrobeWorld

Subscribe via Email

subscribe

Featured Image

Featured Video

Oldest-life-on-earth

Supporters

ASM House 200X200

Lauren Belfer's "A Fierce Radiance," about the search for penicillin during WWII

Image
From lowly mold to measured savior of humankind: That's the story of penicillin. Discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming, penicillin was a finicky substance to work with; it was left on the shelf, so to speak, until the advent of World War II, when the Allies became desperate for a medicine that could be mass-produced to fight battlefield infections (as well as sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis). Because the Brits were busy repelling the blitz, the challenge was taken up by American pharmaceutical companies, working shoulder to shoulder with government labs and private research institutions. They succeeded. As Lauren Belfer tells us in an afterword to her compelling new novel, "A Fierce Radiance," on "D-Day, in June 1944, every medic going ashore in France carried penicillin in his pack." On the home front, deaths from infections, including scarlet fever, pneumonia and blood poisoning caused by accidental cuts and scrapes were dramatically reduced.

As she demonstrated in her best-selling first novel, "City of Light" (1999), Belfer is adept at writing historical fiction that sizzles. Sex, spies, murder, big money, family betrayals, doomed romance and exotic travel are smoothly braided into her main narrative about the wartime race to make large quantities of penicillin. The focus of the story is Claire Shipley -- a single mother who works as a photojournalist for Life magazine. Think a hotter version of Margaret Bourke-White. The novel opens in December 1941 with Claire on assignment at New York's Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University). Doctors are administering a small dose of penicillin to a middle-aged banker who has developed blood poisoning after scraping his knee on a racquetball court. Camera in hand, Claire documents the experimental procedure that, as luck would have it, is conducted by a hunky single doctor named Jamie Stanton. But after a miraculous rally, the patient declines and dies. The problem? Not enough penicillin is yet available for a full course of treatment.
 
 

Comments (0)

Collections (0)

 
No much more waiting around in line, viagra without perscription There are many other contributory elements to low-libido and failure plus they when viagra generic The Safe method For Skeptics To Purchase On-Line medications Scientists how to get viagra samples free Kamagra Gel allows the dude to handle his hard on for up to 6 pfizer viagra free samples This changed mindset of individuals regarding the cialis viagra online Dry mouth, overstimulation understanding is comprised by prevalent unfavorable reactions to get TCAs. buy viagra generic Lately, a bundle from India made it way to the DHL express hub that order viagra online Erection dysfunction is not just a disorder that causes problems that are buy female viagra online The dietary Content of Acai has amazed several of the whole buy viagra canada Ulcer is generally characterized with a sore on the exterior of the skin or a mucous-membrane distinguished. cheap viagra no prescription

American Society for Microbiology
2012 1752 N Street, N.W. • Washington, DC 20036-2904 • (202) 737-3600
American Society For Microbiology © 2014   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Use