AN EPIDEMIC OF DISCOVERY

AN EXTRAORDINARY WAVE OF ADVANCES IN MEDICAL SCIENCE RAISES NEW HOPES, BUT ALSO NEW EXPECTATIONS, NEW PROBLEMS AND NEW COSTS

If the history of science has a recurring theme, it is surely the relationship between chance happenings and the vigilant minds of those prepared to take advantage of them. Since Louis Pasteur first remarked on the affinity of the two in 1854, many instances of coincidence or happenstance have led alert observers to unexpected discoveries--often while they were searching for something else altogether. Just such an event, in fact, launched 20th century medicine on the extraordinary march of progress that has brought it to the high and continuously promising state it enjoys today.

One September morning in 1928, British bacteriologist Alexander...

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