Good use of analogy. “What if these crystals hit asthmatics like uric acid crystals hit people with gout?”
Followed the trail. Wet crystals do nothing. Dry crystals are nasty. After that discovery, drug company stepped in and figured out a safe way to dissolve these crystals before forming. Viola! Now a cure is at hand.
Good story. I love the genuine awe of the scientist, particularly at how they were able to get ahold of actual patient samples intact to study them, across thousands of miles and an ocean.
Usually they try to simulate things in labs. But this was a special case where they had no idea if what they made in a lab was anything like the real thing.