At the age of 20, Domagk, who would later win a Nobel Prize, faced the supposed limits of medicine through his experiences in the First World War. At the time, initially successful operations were often marred by fatal infectious diseases such as gangrene or gas gangrene. The antiseptic properties of the then common substances, chlorine, water and carbolic acid, did not last long enough to effectively combat these diseases.
In 1914, Domagk He received his high school diploma in Liegnitz and began a course of studies in human medicine at the University of Kiel. After having to interrupt his studies for a time due to the war, he received his doctorate in 1921. His post-doctoral degree was obtained in 1924 at the Institute of Pathology at the University of Greifswald.
In 1927 his postdoctoral thesis “Destruction of infectious diseases through the reticuloendothelium and the development of amyloid“He caught the attention of Professor Heinrich Hoerlein who recruited the young scientist to the Elberfeld pharmaceutical department.
In 1932, while looking for a way to combat bacterial infections by chemical means, Domagk he came across the active substance dimethyl benzyl dodecyl ammonium chloride, which was later released as a 10 percent solution under the trade name Zephirol. Zephirol’s intensive antibacterial effect and good skin compatibility quickly made the product an indispensable and universally applicable skin disinfectant that is still used today to disinfect hands and instruments.
Encouraged by his success in destroying pathogens outside the body, the researcher began looking for ways to fight bacteria within the body as well. He conducted intensive research based on the antibacterial properties of sulfonamide groups in azo dyes.
Thanks to the intense research of DomagkNew developments in the fight against pulmonary tuberculosis, which had proven difficult to treat, were soon reported. In the mid-1950s, the Bayer researcher developed an extremely well-tolerated combination therapy at the Leverkusen Central Scientific Laboratory.
Gerhard Domagk died on April 24, 1964 in Königsfeld im Schwarzwald, Germany, as a result of cardiac degeneration.