Antibiotics first arrived on the medical scene in 1932 thanks to Gerhard Domagk;  and coined the "wonder drugs". The introduction of the sulfa drugs led to a decline in the . mortality rate from pneumonia to drop from % each year to % by 1939.  Antibiotics inhibit the growth or the metabolic activities of bacteria and other microorganisms by a chemical substance of microbial origin. Penicillin, introduced a few years later, provided a broader spectrum of activity compared to sulfa drugs and reduced side effects. Streptomycin, found in 1942, proved to be the first drug effective against the cause of tuberculosis and also came to be the best known of a long series of important antibiotics. A second generation of antibiotics was introduced in the 1940s: aureomycin and chloramphenicol. Aureomycin was the best known of the second generation.
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