Drugs: Toward a Safer Penicillin

The many varieties of penicillin have a unique disadvantage: about one in a hundred patients who get them by injection becomes sensitized, so that his next shot may produce a severe reaction marked by rash, fever, swollen glands and pain in the joints. In a few cases, the response is so fast and catastrophic that it is called anaphylactic shock, a violent reaction usually associated with the introduction of foreign protein into the system. A patient thus afflicted may die within minutes.

To Dr. J. George Feinberg, a U.S. immunologist working at Britain's...

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