Dr. Paul Ehrlich was the German physician who developed the first synthetic antimicrobial drug, 606 or Salvarsan. The film describes how Ehrlich first became interested in the properties of the then-new synthetic dyes and had an intuition that they could be useful in the diagnosis of bacterial diseases. After this work met with success, Ehrlich proposed that synthetic compounds could be made to selectively target and destroy disease causing microorganisms. He called such a drug a "magic bullet". The film describes how in 1908, after 606 attempts, he succeeded.Written by
Although not covered in the film, Paul Ehrlich also discovered the structural formula of atoxyl, a chemical compound used in the treatment of sleeping sickness. See more »
When Rhineland Chemical is shipping boxes of 606 to cities around the world, one box is labeled "St. Mary's Hospital, Sidney, Australia." A second box to a different hospital shows the city correctly spelled as Sydney. See more »
Dr. Paul Ehrlich:
[His final message, on his deathbed, to his research team]
There will be epidemics of greed, hate and ignorance. We must fight them in life as we fought syphilis in the laboratory. We must fight, fight. We must never, never stop fighting.
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I saw this movie a few times, years ago when they had a lot of old movies on TV (pre-cable). There is much more in it than the cure for syphilis.
Dr. Ehrlich also discovered some amazing new ideas: dye for viewing bacterial slides and identifying those germs; the process of vaccination as a prevention against disease and the difficulty in changing the views of the medical community even with valid & objective scientific evidence.
Edward G. Robinson did an excellent job and the portrayal is artfully and humanely done as a early medical pioneer. The scientific discoveries may seem too banal for today's average person but the work was a milestone in medical science.
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