Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why I claim Warren Weaver was 'naive' over penicillin

Some have objected that Warren Weaver,long time chief of the Rockefeller Foundation Natural Sciences Division was one of the most astute men in American science.

I say he was a math teacher, placed in charge of allocating millions in grants devoted to discerning the 'deepest secrets of biology' and what he did not know about the basics of biology and medicine would fill a library.

In particular, can you see the people in the medical side of the Rockefeller Foundation buying the Florey and Chain claim of 1939 that penicillin was an enzyme (ie a foreign proteinand yet, once purified ,it could be safely injected into a vein as a systemic medicine?

Aren't we also always told that Fleming's penicillin was too
unsafe to inject as a systemic medicine?

This because the mold was grown in a foreign protein medium and so was too deadly to inject into humans.

Though Fleming ,in fact, showed that neither penicillin juice or the medium juice seemed to affect mice when injected into them.

Weaver knew next to nothing medical, but he loved a good line.

The line he always loved best was that chemists, physicists and mathematicians  and other hard science types would quickly clear out the soft descriptive clinical types holding up true medical progress.

So he gave Florey and Chain all they asked for.... and more.

A good thing really - because Florey would never have given penicillin a moment's notice, if he hadn't a nice grant to do so.....

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