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Wonder Drugs

By: Jabrail Ahmad and Josh Nguyen

1.Would we be alive if the wonder drugs had not been found?

2.What would be the death toll be if there weren't wonder drugs

Before Pharmaceuticals were an industry:
Average lifespan of males: 46 years, females: 48
After Pharmaceuticals became an industry:
Average lifespan of males: 72 years, females: 79

A major factor in longer lifespans was the introduction of molecules of

medicinal chemistry

Many compounds have been synthesized, some have been life-

Before Wonder Drugs
People used herbs for thousands of years
Heal wounds, cure sickness, and relieve pain

Some of the herbs contained compounds that are used today in modern

Quinine - came from cinchona tree

used as anti fever by the Indians of Peru, used today as

Digoxin - came from Foxgloves

Used as heart stimulant back in medieval Europe and today
What are Wonder Drugs?
There are 3 types of Wonder Drugs:
Sulfa Drugs
These drugs have changed millions of peoples lives.
The three drugs treat bacterial infections.
They are still prescribed today
They were a replacement for medical herbs.
In 1893 Felix Hoffman researched salicylic acid (which is made up of
pain relieving molecules).
Its found from the bark of a willow tree.
It reduces fever and relieves pain while also acting as an anti-
Salicylic acid wasnt popular because it irritates stomach lining.
Hoffman planned to use a derivative for salicylic acid, acetylsalicylic to
help cure arthritis for his father.
His thought process was that the OH(hydroxide) would stop the
How did it work?
Pain and Inflammation Reliever
Damaged and cells causing pain would create an enzyme that
transforms into a chemical which sends a message to the brain
signaling theres pain to the body.
The chemical also creates fluids that cause swelling and
Aspirin doesnt allow the enzyme to be made stopping inflammation,
swelling and most importantly the pain.
Cardio Protection
Prevents the accumulation of platelet blood cells which allows blood
Reducing heart attacks and strokes by stopping the creation of of a
chemical that allows platelets to stick together.
Fever Reduction
Photo of Aspirin
Synthesis of Aspirin: hydroxyl group into ester group (replacing OH with

Salicylic acid Acetic anhydride acetylsalicylic acid

acetic acid
Sulfa Drugs
Paul Ehrlich
A German doctor accidentally discovered it when he was
experimenting with tar dyes or magic bullets trying to cure the
African Sleeping Sickness however his results didnt cure this
disease but it cured another one.
The product was called Number 606 which proved active against
Syphilis Spirochete
Gerhard Dogmark
In 1930 a doctor wanted to cure his daughter from Streptococcal
infection. He was experimenting with a dye called prontosil red. He
had tried a few experiments but they all showed no signs of activity.
He thought he had nothing to lose and gave his daughter an oral
dose and she was cured.
How did it work?
Red Molecule
In the human body the red molecule breaks down to create
Sulfanilamide and it is the Sulfanilamide that has the antibiotic
Other than just fighting against Streptococcal infections it also is
effective against pneumonia, scarlet fever, and gonorrhea.
Miracle Drugs
Sulfa drugs began to be known as the wonder drugs and miracle
cures. After the discovery death from pneumonia dropped by 25,000
a year in the U.S.
Why it is Successful?
It works because sulfanilamide and p-aminobenzoic acid which is
essential for microorganisms. The bacterial enzymes are unable to
see the difference between the two and choose the sulfa acid and
Sulfa Drugs
The use of sulfa drugs has decreased worldwide

concern over their long-term side effects

the evolution of sulfanilamide-resistant bacteria

the development of newer and more powerful antibiotics

Photo of Sulfa Drugs
Alexander Fleming
In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered that a mold had contaminated
a bacteria he was studying.
The experiment he had made confirmed that the compound created
by the mold was the reasoning for the antibiotic effect.
His conclusion became interesting because of the success of sulfa
Flemings results attracted little interest

Wasnt until 1939 when Oxford Chemists tries to produce and isolate

It worked but it came with: The treatment was a success, but the
patient died.

Extracted from mold until 1957 when it could be synthesized

four-membered rings are not common in nature

How it works?
The structure of penicillin has a four membered ring which is very
unstable. This is the reasoning for the antibiotic activity of the penicillin

Bacteria have cell walls that create enzymes that are essential for cell
wall formation. Penicillin deactivates the cell way forming an enzyme.

Without the cell wall the growth of bacteria will stop.

Photo of Penicillin