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The History And Development Of Penicillin

Aug 18, 2007
Penicillin has been in existence since the early 1900s and we have been using it to help treat and cure bacterial infections since then, but it was not developed deliberately. It was actually discovered by accident by a scientist in Scotland named Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928.

While conducting some experiments in his laboratory in London, he noticed that a dish of Staphylococcus had been cross-contaminated with Penicillium notatum. The penicillium inhibited the growth of the bacteria in a semicircle and he believed in the beginning that this was the discovery of a simple disinfectant.

He saw that it was effective, but was not very toxic. He did not realize just how important his discovery was at the time and the use of penicillin as a drug did not really start until after 1939.

Infectious bacteria was not much of a match for the new drug, but at the time Britain was in the middle of World War II and did not have the money that was required to make the large amount of penicillin that was required in order to do more clinical studies on its usefulness. It soon asked the United States for assistance on the matter.

Soon after a lab in Peoria agreed to assist with the production of the penicillin, a search began to find the most appropriate strain of Penicillium notatum.

A strain that multiplied quickly was needed and not too long after a worldwide search began, the strain they were looking for was found in a cantaloupe in a market next to the lab that had agreed to assist the Oxford lab to produce the penicillin in the first place.

By around the end of 1941, a mold nutrition expert named Andrew J. Moyer was able to multiply the production of penicillin by about 10 times and by 1943, penicillin was finally approved by public use.

In the beginning, doses of penicillin were very expensive, but as it became more common, the doses went down in price significantly finally settling around fifty cents per dose in the mid 1940s.

Unfortunately, there are some people that have been found to have an allergic reaction to penicillin and cannot be treated with it in the case of bacterial infection like other people can.

If you are allergic to penicillin, it is possible that your child may also be allergic, so if your girlfriend or wife is expecting, you should notify your spouses doctor of your allergy.
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