Medicine: How Sulfa-Drugs Work

Without any real understanding of how sulfa-drugs overcome infections, doctors have been freely using them ever since Dr. Gerhard Domagk of Germany discovered prontosil, forerunner of sulfanilamide, in 1932.* But the mystery of their effectiveness has recently been cleared up by a series of discoveries reviewed in a recent issue of the British Medical Journal.

Discoverer of the mechanism of sulfa-therapy is Bacteriologist Paul Fildes of London. Certain bacteria, he found, mistake the sulfa-drugs for a vitaminlike substance—probably of the vitamin B complex—which they need for growth. Consuming the pseudo-vitamin instead of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!