New Jersey May Soon Have an Official State Germ

But It’s a Very, Very Good Germ
Jun 21, 2017
Source: Wikipedia/Wiki San Roze †αLҝ Streptomyces Griseus

The state may soon have an official germ.

New Jersey already has an official state seal, flag, motto (“Liberty and Prosperity”) flower (violet), bird (Eastern goldfinch), tree (Northern red oak), bug (honeybee), animal (horse), fish (brook trout), shell (knobbed whelk), ship (the A.J. Meerwald), fruit (blueberry), dinosaur (Hadrosaurus foulki) and dance (square). What’s next, an official state gangster? How about an official state poem? Will there ever be an official state song?

Actually, New Jersey has been beaten out in what apparently is a rush to name state germs. Oregon already has an official microbe, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer’s yeast. But seriously, is brewer’s yeast unique to the Beaver State?

The microbe being proposed by State Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-Middlesex) is not only a good germ – an extremely good germ – but one that is intimately connected with New Jersey and one that made medical history.

Thompson’s Senate bill, No. 3190, was introduced on May 15.

“Whereas, Streptomyces Griseus is a soil-based microorganism that was first discovered in 1916 by Dr. Selman Waksman and Dr. Roland Curtis (Rutgers University researchers); and

“Whereas, Soon after its discovery, the microbe drew international acclaim for its groundbreaking use as an antibiotic; and

“Whereas, In 1943, a research team from Rutgers University, led by Dr. Albert Schatz and Dr. Selman Waksman, used Streptomyces Griseus to create streptomycin, the world’s first antiobotic for tuberculosis; and

“Whereas, After clinical trials showed that streptomycin cured ailing tuberculosis patents, Merck & Company, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, quickly made the drug available to the public; and

“Whereas, Prior to this discovery, tuberculosis was one of the deadliest diseases in human history and the second leading cause of death in the United States; and

“Whereas, Within 10 years of streptomycin’s release, tuberculosis mortality rates in the U.S. fell to a historic low, with only 9.1 tuberculosis-related deaths per 100,000 people in 1955 compared to the rate of 194 deaths per 100,000 in 1900; and

“Whereas, According to a June 1947 New York Times article, streptomycin had ‘become one of the two wonder drugs of medicine’ and offered the ‘promise to save more lives than were lost in both World Wars;’ and

“Whereas, Dr. Selman Waksman was later awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1952 for his work in discovering Streptomyces Griseus, creating streptomycin, and curing tuberculosis; and

“Whereas, Streptomyces Griseus and streptomycin were two of the most consequential discoveries in the fields of biology and pharmacology during the twentieth century; and

“Whereas, The unlocking of the antibiotic potential of Streptomyces Griseus is a testament to the hard work and tenacity that changed the world; and

“Whereas, Few people are aware of the enduring social value of Schatz and Waksman’s research, as penicillin has overshadowed streptomycin as the twentieth century’s greatest antibiotic discovery; and

“Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper to renew the public’s awareness of this historic achievement, and New Jersey’s role in combating tuberculosis, by designating Strepomyces Griseus as the official microbe of the State of New Jersey; now, therefore,

“Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey: Streptomyces Griseus is designated as the New Jersey State Microbe.”

Take that, Oregon, with your brewer’s yeast.

— Rick Mellerup

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