The discovery of quinine is considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century and malaria treatment with quinine marked the first successful use of a chemical compound to treat an infectious disease - Jane Achan


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Quinine's Target

Every "history of pharmaceuticals" article ever written probably mentions quinine, and well they should. (I certainly reserved an entry for it while writing my own chemical history book). It's a classic example of a natural product drug, one that was not known to the classical Mediterranean world but was only appreciated by Europeans after they came into contact with the New World civilizations. Malaria was most certainly known to them - it was a disease thought to be cause by harmful vapors (mal aria) particularly in warm, humid areas, but there was no effective treatment in the Old World pharmacopeia.

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Last Updated : Wednesday, July 27, 2022