By Mike Dougherty

NEW JERSEY (CBS) — New Jersey has begun the process of naming an official state microbe.

Streptomyces griseus was discovered by scientists at Rutgers University in the 1940s and later earned them a Nobel Prize.

“At the time they developed it, tuberculosis was the second leading cause of death in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people were dying,” said State Senator Sam Thompson.

Thompson says the antibiotic streptomycin was the only treatment for TB, and it’s one of the greatest accomplishments in the state’s history.

“It certainly is something that we should recognize,” he said.

He expects the bill to pass sometime this year.

“I would not expect any opposition to it. How could somebody oppose recognizing such a major medical breakthrough?” said Thompson.

If it does pass, New Jersey would join Oregon as the only states with official microbes.

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