“The dose makes the poison.” – Paracelsus
In times of Covid-19, I was interested in how humanity fought some of the deadliest diseases in history. The one that catched my eye was syphilis – a bacterial STD which made it’s (arguably) first big appearance in the late 15th century. Amongst others the fluid metal mercury was used as a remedy for syphlis and other diseases like leprosy, while not only being utterly useless as a treatment but being deadly itself: Some of mercury’s compounds count to the most deadly poisons on earth. Nevertheless the element was used as a therapy for over 400 years.
For a university seminar I researched, wrote and illustrated a first chapter for a graphic novel about the medical use of the chemical element in history. This first chapter is about the “sudden” appearance of syphilis in the late 15th century, it’s symptoms and how and why mercury was used.