Early twentieth-century scientists had long been attempting to treat trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness, with arsenic-based compounds. Unfortunately, these compounds were largely ineffective and highly toxic. In light of this, Heidelberger and Walter Jacobs began work to formulate an alternate treatment for the disease. This article describes the pair's successful creation of a simple, non-toxic, and easily made arsenic compound to treat sleeping sickness, which Simon Flexner, director of the Rockefeller Institute, named "tryparasamide."
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