Story of the Day for Tuesday May 15, 2012
“You intended evil against me, but God intended it for good so as to bring about this present result: the saving of many lives.”
The distance from Eureka, Montana to just about anywhere else on earth is endless. When we go to the Midwest, we drive over five hundred weary miles . . . and we’re still in Montana.
Near the end of a long day of driving, I was beginning to flag in zeal. One of my kids noticed my drowsiness and offered me a candy called a War Bomb, or something like that.
WHOA! That thing was sour enough to peel the hair back from your scalp. If those candies were actually approved by the FDA, it only further erodes that fragile bond of trust that exists between government agencies and those they claim to protect.
When your mouth is puckered by candy that sour, your moans take on a muffled, pitiful tone. My kids were having a delightful time.
But that sour bomb worked. I was no longer drowsy.
After the funeral for their father, Joseph’s brothers feared that Joseph would avenge them for selling him into slavery. Instead, he forgave and comforted his brothers. Joseph was able to look back and see that God had used all the cruddy things that happened to him to keep the Egyptians – and his family – from starving.
Adolf Hitler unleashed a storm of suffering and death. World War II saw the tragic loss of millions of lives.
Yet, before 1941, doctors had no access to antibiotics to revere the course of infections. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, but the medical community treated it more as a curiosity than the “miracle drug” it would later be called.
The war prompted intense research. English scientists brought the penicillin culture to America were they learned to mass produce it in an agricultural lab in Peoria, Illinois.
By 1943, only 28 pounds f penicillin had been produced, at a manufacturing cost of $200,000 a pound. Within two years, researchers produced 14,000 pounds and a cost of two dollars per 100,000 units.
The desperate need for antibiotics caused pharmaceutical companies to step up their efforts. Selman Waksman from Rutgers discovered streptomycin, which treated tuberculosis. Soon, many more antibiotics were discovered and manufactured.
A medical historian, Dr. Russell Maulitz, observes that “War is the perverse handmaiden of medical progress.”
Millions died in a tragic war. But, because of it, many more millions of lives were saved through the intense antibiotic research it provoked.