Streptomycin was the first of a class of drugs called aminoglycosides to be discovered, and was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. It is derived from the actinobacterium Streptomyces griseus.
It was first isolated on October 19 1943 by Albert Schatz, a research student at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. However, according to academic tradition, Schatz's supervisor, Professor Selman Abraham Waksman, took credit for his student's discovery and received the Nobel prize in Physiology in 1952. Schatz was belatedly awarded the Rutgers medal in 1994, at the age of 74.
Streptomycin cannot be given orally, but must be administered by regular intramuscular injection.