Around April 6, 1915, the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin noticed a pimple on his upper lip. Soon, the blemish had become infected, and Scriabin was bedridden and feverish. On April 11, he died in agony from septicemia, despite doctors’ best efforts to save him.i
In the era before antibiotics, Scriabin’s fate was all too common. The smallest of cuts, nicks or scrapes (not to mention battlefield wounds) could become a death sentence. Throughout the millennia, millions of people died, slowly and painfully, from infections.
Today, as researchers work to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, it’s worth examining how, 100 years
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