Did you know that in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin? Penicillin is an antibiotic and is used to fight bacterial infections. The discovery of Penicillin’s antibiotic capabilities was a lucky accident. One of the bacteria cultures Fleming was working with became contaminated with a mold. Fleming then noticed that the bacteria did not grow well around the spots of mold. Other scientists used Fleming’s discovery to create a medicine that gave doctors a way to fight infections and continues to save millions of lives today.
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In 1945, Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work with penicillin.
There are many different kinds of antibiotics in the penicillin family. The original penicillin is known as benzylpenicillin or penicillin G.
Many kinds of penicillin class antibiotics disrupt a bacteria’s ability to build strong cell walls; when the bacteria attempts to divide and reproduce, the cell walls break.
Although the antibacterial properties of Penicillium fungi were discovered in 1928, Penicillin was not used to treat infections until 1942. Fleming’s initial findings and experiments did not generate much interest, which caused the delayed development of the medicine.
After Fleming’s discovery, other scientists researched how penicillin could be used. In 1930, Cecil George Paine successfully treated an eye infection using penicillin. In 1939, Howard Florey and his team of researchers showed that penicillin could cure bacterial infection in mice. Finally, in 1942 pharmaceutical companies started mass producing penicillin.