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Have you ever fallen sick in your life? The question might sound kiddish to you but the answer is very obvious. You all must have taken drugs for once in a lifetime and relieved your sufferings. On the other hand, there are cases of deaths due to overdose of some of the abused drugs such as marijuana and steroids. If you compare the life expectancy of present time with that of early 19th century, you will see that it has increased remarkably because of several discoveries that have contributed greatly toward the advancement of healthcare. Modern day’s people have a longer lifespan, and this achievement is due to the multitude of life-saving and certain breakthrough discoveries by the greatest scientists worldwide. Take a look at such five drug discoveries that made a difference to the people’s lives:-
It is named after the Greek God of dreams- Morpheus. The pharmacist assistant, Friedrich Serturner was the first chemist who separated morphium (morphine) from opium in 1805. Morphine is derived from opium which is used as an anesthesia. From the ancient time the opiates had been used as the pain-killers and recreational drugs, but after the advent of refined medical grade morphine, it became easier to reduce the suffering for many while healing or dealing with terminal illness. Although this discovery was made in 1805, it was only after 1815 that morphine became widely available for use. It is due to F.Serturner’s efforts and continuous research into the effects of morphine that you are able to harness its sedative qualities today.
Mechlorethamine is a well known anti-cancer and chemotherapy drug which is also classified as an ‘alkylating’ agent. The drug plays an essential part in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and palliative chemotherapy in lung and breast cancer. Mechlorethamine is highly toxic, especially for pregnant women, or of childbearing age and due to its toxicity it was also used in chemical warfare in the fight between Axis and Allied powers. In 1949, it became the very first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer.
Zidovudine is a group of HIV drugs also called as Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs) and have the capability to block an HIV enzyme called reverse transcriptase from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the human body. It can also be used to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV before birth or other potential exposure. Zidovudine can also be taken with other HIV drugs for better performance.
In 1921, a team of Canadian scientists discovered the Insulin and the rest is history. It drastically increased the quality of life along with the life expectancy for those who suffered with both type I and type II Diabetes. You all know that Insulin helps your body process sugar and is made by the pancreas. Lack of insulin in the body can be fatal. The team extracted the pancreases of a dog and cow to extract the "insulin," and the refining procedures were repeated to purify the insulin to be used for testing on humans.
Prior to the discovery of penicillin, there was a huge number of people falling sick with diseases such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, or rheumatic fever. In 1928, Alexander Fleming, a professor of Bacteriology at St. Mary's Hospital in London discovered penicillin, the first true antibiotic. However, this discovery was completely accidental as he contaminated a culture plate with his own cold germs.
Hope you found this blog informative and relevant. On a final note, drugs are like a double-edged sword. They save lives when taken in appropriate amount; on the other hand, they pose a threat to humans in case of overdosed.
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