The riveting history
of tuberculosis, the world’s most lethal disease, the two men whose lives it
tragically intertwined, and the birth of medical science.
In 1875, tuberculosis was the deadliest disease in the
world, accountable for a third of all deaths. A diagnosis of TB—often called
consumption—was a death sentence. Then, in a triumph of medical science, a
German doctor named Robert Koch deployed an unprecedented scientific rigor to
discover the bacteria that caused TB. Koch soon embarked on a remedy—a remedy
that would be his undoing.
When Koch announced his cure for consumption, Arthur Conan
Doyle, then a small-town doctor in England and sometime writer, went to Berlin
to cover the event. Touring the ward of reportedly cured patients, he was
horrified. Koch’s “remedy” was either sloppy science or outright fraud.
But to a world desperate for relief, Koch’s remedy wasn’t so
easily dismissed. As Europe’s consumptives descended upon Berlin, Koch urgently
tried to prove his case. Conan Doyle, meanwhile, returned to England determined
to abandon medicine in favor of writing. In particular, he turned to a
character inspired by the very scientific methods that Koch had formulated:
Capturing the moment when mystery and magic began to yield
to science, The Remedy chronicles the
stunning story of how the germ theory of disease became a true fact, how two
men of ambition were emboldened to reach for something more, and how scientific
discoveries evolve into social truths. Download and start listening now!