Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ezra Lozinski : Canadian 'Jewish penicillin' 1941

Canadians love to joke about 'Jewish Penicillin' but a historical might-have-been actually involved a Canadian Jewish doctor's pioneering efforts to make wartime penicillin at the same time similar pioneering efforts were going on in America (by his fellow McGill Med School classmate Henry Dawson) and in Britain with Florey.

Dr Ezra Lozinski was head of research at Charles E Frosst & Co, a smallish Montreal drug company.

He appealed for help from both Fleming and Florey and got nothing from Fleming (as usual) and some response from Florey's assistant Norman Heatley then travelling about in America, trying to drum up interest in penicillin research.

Lozinski first told Heatley he'd even go to America to see him and then a week or so later dispiritedly told Heatley not to bother to rush to Montreal as both equipment and solvents were hard to come by in Lozinski's penicillin efforts.

Lozinski's daughter Joyce is still with us and thinks a difficulty in getting enough horse urine from Mexico to use as a solvent was the problem.

She will search his papers to see if any other clues emerge...

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