1946 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award

Penicillin as a cure for syphilis

Arch-enemy of spirocheta pallida (or Treponema pallidum), you have won the gratitude of countless numbers of your fellow men who have benefited and will in the future benefit by the results of your skillful and devoted work in the penicillin treatment of syphilis. You have made so many other significant and original discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of venereal disease that your name will be joined in history with that of Paul Ehrlich, who discovered arsphenamine 35 years ago.

Treatment of early syphilis with penicillin is now being completed in less than two weeks, and as you forecast not long ago, this treatment has largely supplanted other methods. The general use of your discovery during World War II helped bring about among our armed forces notable reductions in amount of time lost from duty because of venereal diseases; in the same period, there was no increase in syphilis among the American civilian population.

You have raised the standards of serologic laboratories throughout the United States by your annual serologic surveys; you have brought about valued improvements in the standardization and use of test procedures and serologic test reagents, and in bacteriologic methods of identification of the gonococcus; your successful researches over a period of 29 years in the United States Public Health Service have given us new and effective tools which promise success in the long and strenuous battle against venereal diseases. Above all, you have multiplied yourself and your efforts by your leadership and your training of scientists and other workers in the technical aspects of laboratory diagnosis and in the penicillin treatment of both gonorrhea and syphilis.

Dr. John F. Mahoney, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation honors itself by granting you this award.