Medicine: Streptomycin-Plus

Five-year-old streptomycin, like others of the "wonder drugs," has its drawbacks (TIME, March 1). Among its worst effects (which may pass or may be permanent) are dizziness, deafness, and damage to the kidneys. But streptomycin has been the best drug doctors have found for treating tuberculosis. The problem has been to make it safer.

Three drug-manufacturing firms (Squibb, Merck, Parke-Davis), experimenting with variations on streptomycin, found a complex chemical answer: dihydrostreptomycin (two atoms of hydrogen added to the original antibiotic). Two teams of doctors immediately started testing it. Last week the first public...

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