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Dynamite and ‘Viagra’: The blood is linked

  ”I dreamed of having dinner with Ai Iijima\the restaurant in my dream\the lights were too dim\I couldn’t find the little blue pill”, this is the lyric of the song “I’m Annoyed Lately”, “The little blue pill “Let a lot of people smile – yes, it’s Viagra. If you were told that the drug associated with romantic dating had something to do with earth-shattering dynamite, you would feel too fantastical. In fact, the development of “Viagra” was a beautiful accident. It was caused by the “deviation” of a drug development after people discovered that nitroglycerin has the effect of treating heart disease, and nitroglycerin is the main ingredient of explosives.
Invention of nitroglycerin

  The famous Alfred Nobel invented safety explosives, but the inventor of nitroglycerin in the explosives is not Nobel, first of all, the German chemist Christian Friedrich Chanban opened the journey of discovery . One day in 1845, he accidentally spilled a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid while doing experiments in the kitchen at home. He quickly wiped it with his wife’s cotton apron. When he threw the dirty apron aside and continued to work, The apron suddenly burst into flames. The startled chemist quickly put out the flames and began to review his operations. It turned out that the substance he unintentionally synthesized was nitrocellulose, which can spontaneously ignite when exposed to the air, and can easily burn and explode when exposed to open flames and high heat. It was an important ingredient in the high explosives the military was looking for at the time, but Friedrich didn’t delve into it until 1847.
  One day, Sobreno, a chemist who had no important research topics for the time being, poured the mixture filled with concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid directly into a large glass of glycerin. He and his face were all blown up with blood, and the experimental utensils were also blown away. After the body recovered, the conscientious chemist decided to do another experiment, which also turned the world upside down. After summarizing the experience and lessons, he mixed nitric acid and sulfuric acid, put it in a funnel, and then stirred while dripping. After a while, a sticky, thick snot-like oil appeared and settled at the bottom of the vessel. This is nitroglycerin!

Alfred Nobel.

Laboratory, warehouse and production workshop of the Nobel Explosives Factory.

  Judging from the previous explosions, this substance will explode immediately under the action of external forces, such as strong stirring, vibration or impact, and it is a liquid high explosive. During a public demonstration, Sobreno’s nitroglycerin exploded, leaving a very ugly scar on his face. It is precisely because of its instability that Sobreno gave up follow-up research, so nitroglycerin was not put into practical use at the time. Only by taming this violent liquid can it be used by human beings, and it will not devour itself. Nitroglycerin quietly waited for the arrival of Bole. This Bole is Nobel. He solved the problem of the instability of nitroglycerin, created a lot of wealth with nitroglycerin explosives, and became a generation of “dynamite kings”.
The story of dynamite and medicine

  Born in Sweden, Nobel came to Russia with his father as a child. His father got a job developing mines for the military in St. Petersburg, which made Nobel exposed to the development of weapons since he was a child, and has an indissoluble bond with explosives. The laboratory he came into contact with during his study abroad was the place where Sobreno discovered nitroglycerin. Nobel was attracted by the power of nitroglycerin and began to study how to transform it into a safer explosive. After studying abroad, with the family change, Nobel was facing financial pressure. He began to prepare nitroglycerin and sell it to the railway company to blow up mountains. One day in 1864, nitroglycerin showed its hideous face again: when Nobel’s younger brother and other staff were preparing nitroglycerin in the laboratory, a violent explosion occurred due to insufficient cooling, and everyone was killed on the spot.
  Nobel was determined to find a solution to the problem. After numerous experiments and thrilling explosions, he discovered that simply using diatomaceous earth, a porous solid, to absorb nitroglycerin could make the explosives safe, stable, and easy to transport. The later story is well known, safety explosives brought him huge wealth, and even Hugo called him “the richest man in Europe” at that time, which also produced the highest honor in the scientific world – the Nobel Prize.
  So, how did the explosives “run” from the arsenal to the pharmaceutical factory?
  In the 19th century, there was a chemical factory in England that produced nitroglycerin explosives. Strange things happened one after another: several usually strong workers died one after another while resting at home on weekends. . The family of the deceased jointly accused the factory of disregarding the life and death of the workers and not paying attention to personal protection, which caused the workers to inhale toxic substances and cause sudden death. The impact of this incident was very bad, so the government department launched an investigation. It turned out that the workers who died suddenly had coronary heart disease. However, because of the inhalation of nitroglycerin dust particles at work, the coronary blood vessels in the heart were dilated and the blood supply and oxygen supply to the heart muscle were increased, so they were not found to be sick at ordinary times. Failure to inhale nitroglycerin dust particles in time can lead to disease. In healthy people, excessive inhalation of nitroglycerin can cause headache symptoms. This discovery has also attracted the attention of medical scholars.
  Later, many doctors tried to take nitroglycerin for angina pectoris patients and found that the effect was very good, so nitroglycerin was widely promoted in the treatment of angina pectoris. A dramatic scene happened to Nobel: One day in 1896, Nobel’s heart was uncomfortable. The doctor prescribed him nitroglycerin, but he was unwilling to take it – it was obviously a small dose of explosives. This delayed the treatment of Nobel’s coronary heart disease. Before his death, he not only left the famous will, but also left a sentence: “The medicine that the doctor prescribed for me is nitroglycerin. Is it ironic?” How many mountains, rivers and ravines have been levelled with dynamite, and how many lives have been taken away, but now they have to eat it to cure their own diseases.
  Of course, the purity of medicinal nitroglycerin is different from that for industrial use. The content of each tablet is only a few milligrams. will explode. In order to further reduce the psychological shadow of everyone taking nitroglycerin, the pharmaceutical manufacturer named the drug trinitroglycerin.
  The medical community at that time was unable to explain the mechanism of action of nitroglycerin in the treatment of angina pectoris, and it was not clear until later. Angina pectoris is caused by insufficient blood supply due to narrowing of the lumen of the coronary arteries. Nitroglycerin relieves symptoms by releasing nitric oxide, which relaxes vascular smooth muscle cells. Nitroglycerin has a rapid onset of action, can dilate arteries and veins in a short time, and significantly relieve symptoms in patients with angina pectoris. Robert Faucigot, Luignalo and Ferry Mullard were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998 for discovering how nitric oxide functions as a signaling molecule.

  Nitric oxide was previously regarded as a polluting gas because it is quickly converted into nitrogen dioxide in the air, which can irritate the human body and damage the respiratory tract. Now people realize that nitric oxide is a new type of biological messenger molecule, which plays an important role in biology. As long as there is a sufficient amount of nitric oxide molecule in the human body, our chances of getting cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases will be greatly reduced. For a time, research on nitric oxide swept the world, and “Science” magazine selected it as the “star molecule”. Direct inhalation of nitric oxide is dangerous, but you can naturally raise nitric oxide levels in your body by eating nitrogen-rich foods, such as beets and green leafy vegetables. Exercise is also another way to increase nitric oxide levels in the body.
  After nitric oxide was discovered to be a vasodilator, many pharmaceutical companies have joined in to develop related products for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Pfizer originally wanted to design a drug with related functions. In the early 1990s, they developed a drug called “Sildenafil”, which is a white crystalline powder containing nitroglycerin, which is easily soluble in water. It dilates the coronary arteries and treats angina pectoris. However, when the new drug was first clinically tested in a hospital in Swansea, England, there was no obvious effect, billions of dollars in investment and long-term scientific research efforts were about to go to waste, just as the company wanted to withdraw During the trial of this project, a word from a cardiology nurse who was in charge of the project at the time made the project reborn.
Birth of “Viagra”

  The nurse said some of the pills handed out at the time were collected by the male patient and refused to return it, even asking her if she could hand out more. This caught the attention of Pfizer and began to send people to the hospital to continue the investigation. Only then did these male patients tell the truth: Although the drug had no therapeutic effect, it made the sex life between them and their partners a lot more wonderful. Doctors didn’t expect this failed heart drug to be turned into a helper for sexual dysfunction. Sure enough, there is no way out of the sky! This result made Pfizer’s executives have an epiphany, and they decided to immediately change the direction of research, modify the use and formulation of drugs, and conduct clinical trials for men’s unspeakable secrets. In this way, a drug that can treat male sexual dysfunction, “Viagra”, was born by chance. In March 1998, a drug called Viagra was quietly launched in the United States.

Nitroglycerin has the effect of dilating blood vessels and can be used in medicine to treat angina pectoris caused by coronary stenosis.

  After “Viagra” was launched, doctors issued 5.3 million “Viagra” prescriptions within 6 months, of which 50% were refills. One year after the launch, the rate of visits for sexual dysfunction increased from 7% to 40%, and the wind of “Viagra” blew all over the world. In 1998, the US “Time” magazine selected the top ten scientific events, one of which was the advent of the best new drug “Viagra” for the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, which was tied with John Glenn’s return to space and the Leonid meteor shower. The market price of “Viagra” is 10 US dollars per tablet, but it can be sold for 20 to 50 US dollars on the black market, and the black market price in Hong Kong has soared to 77 US dollars. In the 20 years from 1998 to 2018, more than 700 million “Viagra” prescriptions were issued worldwide, and more than 64 million men used it to regain “sex” happiness. In a Korean news report not long ago, the water of the Han River was detected with “Viagra” exceeding the standard.
  According to reports, in the Afghan war, in order to pave the way for the US military, CIA agents provided a variety of “private services” to local armed forces and tribal leaders in Afghanistan, sending exquisite and practical tools, applying for tourist visas and even tooth extraction services. column, but the most talked about is the “Viagra” story. “Try a piece, you’ll love it.” The CIA agent took down the tribal leader and got the information. In the subsequent intelligence work, “Viagra” played an irreplaceable role in money.
  When “Viagra” first appeared in the market and was hotly sought after, there were also several reports: some people suddenly developed cardiogenic shock and even died after eating it. Therefore, everyone is worried about the safety of “Viagra”. After careful study, it was found that these cases of shock were combined with other nitrate drugs, such as nitroglycerin. From the point of view of the efficacy of the drugs, these drugs and “Viagra” are like a pair of cousins. Everyone has the effect of dilating blood vessels. When the two drugs that dilate blood vessels are “strongly combined”, it will cause continuous expansion of blood vessels. effect, resulting in a drop in blood pressure and shock.
  From the history of “Viagra” and the development of explosives, we can see that success and failure are sometimes only a step away. The invention of a drug may seem like an accidental event, but in fact it is still the result of the continuous efforts of scientists. Therefore, in a certain sense, “accidental events” are actually the inevitable result of scientific development and progress.

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