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AMA Am J Dis Child. 1951;81(5):684-686. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1951.02040030697009.
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ALTHOUGH much progress has been made in the understanding of the epidemiology of poliomyelitis, as yet no drug effective in treatment has been found.11 In the past few years the drug dimercaprol (BAL) has come into prominence as a treatment against certain metallic poisons. This drug was first synthesized by Peters and his co-workers to counteract the effects of arsenical war gases. Present knowledge concerning this chemical has been recently reviewed by Randall and Seeler.2 Dimercaprol is effective in heavy metal poisoning because it combines with the metals and protects certain enzymes, those containing a sulfhydryl group, from combination with the poison. Since viruses appear to be obligatory intracellular parasites and since they seem to cause necrosis by destroying or inhibiting certain intracellular enzyme systems, it was hypothesized that this preparation might be effective in the treatment of poliomyelitis. Because the drug has known toxic properties and occasionally


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