Gerhard Domagk

Gerhard Domagk: Sulphonamide drugs

Domagk was a chemist who was inspired by the achievements of Paul Ehrlich’s team. He set out to find dyes that would destroy other infectious microbes within the body. Domagk was very thorough in his work and in 1932 discovered that a dye called prontosil would act against he streptococcus virus. This discovery was then developed by French scientists who found that the drug could also be used against tonsillitis, puerperal fever and scarlet fever. May and baker, British scientists, discovered that a derivative of the sulphonamide drug could be used against pneumonia.

There were though several disadvantages to this drug. Sulphonamide drugs can damage the kidney, liver and are ineffective against highly virulent microbes.