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Salvarsan treatment kit for syphilis, Germany, 1909-1912

Science Museum, London


Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Science Museum, London
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Salvarsan was a synthetic drug produced to treat the STI syphilis. The drug was developed by Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), a German medical scientist, and his team in 1909 after three years of research. Ehrlich coined the phrase ‘magic bullet’ to describe this new wonder drug. The diluted yellow Salvarsan treatment was difficult and painful to inject and it did not cure syphilis overnight. As it was an arsenic based compound, it was also toxic. Salvarsan would later be replaced by antibiotics such as penicillin. The drug in the kit was made by a German manufacturer Farbwerke vorm Meister Lucius & Bruning AG and is stamped with the date “3 February 1912”. It was sold by a British chemist, W Martindale, who added all the equipment to prepare injections. maker (Salvarsan): Farbwerke vorm Meister Lucius und Brüning, supplier: W Martindale Place made: Höchst, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany


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Salvarsan treatment kit for syphilis, Germany, 1909-1912. Credit: Science Museum, London. CC BY

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