Penicillin is a type of antibiotic. It is used to fight infections. It was the first antibiotic that was successful to treat a life-threatening disease in the human body.
During the late 1900ís, many hospital patients were dying because of bacterial infections during surgery. They were able to stop some bacteria by using clean surgical instruments and keeping the wounds clean. What was really needed was medicine that could be taken inside the body that would destroy bacteria.
Dr. Alexander Fleming
worked to discover this medicine in London during the 1920ís. In an
experiment, he was surprised to find that something produced by mold
destroyed bacteria. That something was penicillin. This new breakthrough
destroyed meningitis, diphtheria and pneumonia bacteria. Best of all, it
was not harmful to humans. It was too bad though that most of the doctors
did not accept penicillin because they believed that once bacteria entered
the body, nothing could be done.
Years later Dr. Howard
Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain were able to develop a powdered form of
penicillin. In 1941, the first man was successfully treated. Before long,
penicillin was used everywhere. Dr. Fleming, Dr. Florey and Dr. Chain were
awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945.
Penicillin has an amazing strength in
destroying many of the bacteria that have plagued mankind for thousands of
years. Penicillin has saved countless lives.
Books & Electronic Media
Inc. "The History of Penicillin" 2004.
Image of poured medicine from "Animation Library" <http://www.animationlibrary.com/a-l/> Image free for non-profit and personal use. (January-February, 2004).
of medal and test tubes from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?cag=1>