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Should Science Pull the Trigger on Antiviral Drugs—That Can Blast the Common Cold?

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There’s a moment in the history of medicine that’s so cinematic it’s a wonder no one has put it in a Hollywood film. The scene is a London laboratory. The year is 1928. Alexander Fleming, a Scottish microbiologist, is back from a vacation and is cleaning up his work space. He notices that a speck of mold has invaded one of his cultures of Staphylococcus bacteria. It isn’t just spreading through the culture, though. It’s killing the bacteria surrounding it.

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