In addition, it, like all early penicillins, must be injected into the human blood stream and can not swallowed as a pill.
That it was history's best and safest lifesaver and was potentially readily available at the start of the war still did not prevent the world's doctors and patients from rejecting it en masse before late 1943.
They'd rather die first.
the dreaded Fungal Growths
'Better Dead than Slimed' : the human blood stream was the fount of humanity and should never be polluted, least of all by the awful fungal slime.
So said H.P. Lovecraft, A. Hitler and a whole bunch of others.
Recall that WWII was a war that saw America forbid the pooling black and white Red Cross blood out of widespread fears that even 'one drop' of black blood would pollute the white race.
That was also wider reluctance throughout the Allied world to take advantage of their superior demographic numbers to quickly defeat the Axis, if that meant granting members of the 'darkie' races a heroic combat role in defeating Hitler et al.
Because then the pure white races would lose caste against the dirty darker races.
Overseas, Germany and Japan murdered people for 'sharing bodily fluids' with peoples of inferior races, fearing race pollution as America with sharing blood.
The Axis also of course murdered tens of millions of people - entire 'races' - for being 'impure' inferiors, also out of fear they might pollute the purity of the master races.
mainstream Modernity science must share the blame
Scientists were no better --- above and beyond their private fears about miscegenation and racial impurity, declining founder stocks etc - they simply couldn't accept, as Modernity scientists, that the small primitive ancient microbes could possible produce a miracle lifesaver when the world's smartest whitest European male chemists could not.
The big new complex human civilizations just had to be shown to be superior to these dumb little 'darkies' of the biology world by synthesizing a man-made penicillin, or once again the white races would lose caste, in the eyes of the human 'inferior' races, if not in the absent eyes of the microbes.
enter Dr Dawson
Dr Dawson, who ran a arthritis day clinic, (in hospital-speak, the bottom of the medical pecking order) had never shown any research interest in SBE (sub-bacterial endocarditis) a disease usually preserved for cardio departments.
Nor had he ever shown any research interest in bringing forth new medicines (broadly defined as being either biologicals like vaccines or chemical like sulfa pills).
His lab area of interest and research speciality was in studying all the unexpectedly sophisticated ways that non-virulent commensal bacteria had to survive the best attacks the human body could mount against them.
In the years before WWII and for a long time afterwards, his interest was viewed as rather like that of a white man 'going native' --- medical bacteriologists were supposed to be narrowly focussed on simply killing virulent bacteria and ignoring their non-virulent 'carrier' cousins.
Dawson's clinical interest, outside the lab, was in ensuring that chronic ill poor people, patients also at the bottom of the traditional teaching hospital pecking order, got the research effort that their numbers and suffered should justify.
He was part of a broad 1930s movement called Social Medicine that simply meant a belief in directing life-saving medical resources to all very sick people, regardless of whether or not they could pay for all of it.
So already we can see that Dawson had an strong - and atypical - interest in defending the interests of two underdogs.
In the Fall of 1940, Dawson returned to his teaching hospital, the world famous Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre, to discover that the conservative majority of the medical community were using the excuse of preparing American medicine for war (after the unexpected Fall of France that summer), so called War Medicine , to roll back Social Medicine's advances achieved in the heady days of the New Deal.
Eugenics, disguised as 'War medicine'
In reality it was Eugenics, positive and negative, pure and simple.
War medicine was all about using the guise of war necessity to devote more scarce medical resources to the top (1A in the Draft) genetic material in the nations : positive eugenics .
Rolling back Social Medicine was negative eugenics - devoting less scarce medical resources to diseases mainly striking the worst genetic material in the nation (read : minorities & immigrants). less for the 4F diseases of 4F people.
SBE mainly hit the children of inner city minorities and immigrants, 4F inferior stock in eugenically minded people's eyes - so it was ruled not a military priority disease and SBE patients died as a result, denied the penicillin that Dawson had proved was the only cure for their hitherto invariable fatal disease.
By contrast, Polio hit the children of the white middle class suburbs mostly, and since these were de facto 1A type genetic stock, research on this disease actually increased a dozen times over during the war.
Now young people who already had SBE or Polio weren't ever going to be drafted or even sent to do hard labour in war plants. So neither disease was a 'military priority' disease, unlike something like typhus or rheumatic fever - traditionally potentially deadly epidemic diseases under military camp conditions.
But why then was one disease denied the best treatment during the war and another given ever more research dollars during that same war, except through eugenic thinking that was really based on viewing the world as either being of worthy ethnic groups and classes or being of unworthy ethnic groups and classes ?
Wasn't that the very thing that the Allied accused their Axis opponents of promoting ?
Dawson certainly thought so and in his quiet diffident but firm way, he determined to put not one but two shots against the Allies' bow.
October 16th 1940
On October 16th 1940, his bosses would be away from ever looking over his clinical shoulder.
That day was registration day for America's first ever peacetime draft registration - a process we still have with us, by the way.
The entire university complex was as closed as it could ever be, to ensure the world saw that Columbia's students and professors were 110% patriotic and all registered eagerly.
Dawson's team was either too old or too female, so didn't have to register.
Instead Dawson opened our current Age of Antibiotics, by injecting life-saving crude (highly impure) penicillin that the humble little fungus had produced and his tiny team had lightly concentrated, into the bloodstream of two SBE patients - a black and a jewish youth.
A 4F level medicine made by 4F microbe chemists and a few 4F amateurs, injected into two 4F patients ---- on a day otherwise all about America's 1A youth.
"Take that !"
Unworthy medicine made by unworthy microbes for unworthy - and indeed for all - patients : the first shall be last and the last first indeed.
it would take four years, but in the end, the Allies blinked, changed tack and took up the dying Dr Dawson's moral stance ....