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Essay by 24  •  September 9, 2010  •  510 Words (3 Pages)  •  699 Views

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Penicillin was accidentally discovered at St. Mary's Hospital, London in 1929

by Dr. Alexander Fleming. As test continued, Fleming began to realize that he was on the verge of a great discovery. However, he still did not know the identity of the fungus, and had little knowledge of fungi. His crude extracts could be diluted 1,000 times and still be effective in killing bacteria. After years of working on penicillin and going nowhere, many of his co-workers grew tired of hearing about it. The first real test for penicillin came when a 48-year-old police officer nicked himself shaving. After a time, Alexander's face became infected and he developed a temperature. When he was rushed to the hospital, the doctors believed that he had only hours to live. Then Dr Fleming and his crew started to treat this patient. This was the first person that penicillin was used on. After five days, he was getting better. Unfortunately, because it was in such short supply, it had to be extracted from his urine, and the penicillin had been used up. The police officer died five days later. Their next attempt was successful. It involved a punctured eye. The stone was still in the eye, and normally the eye would have been amputated, but penicillin allowed the man to make a full recovery. By this time, it was now 1941, it was now acknowledged that penicillin was indeed a worthwhile drug and could save thousands of lives.

During World War I, death rate from pneumonia in the American Army totaled 18%. In World War II, it fell to less than 1%.One illness after another, that was tested, was cured by penicillin, which was by this time dubbed a "wonder drug." In addition to pneumonia and blood poisoning, the major causes of death, in hospitals, during the war, strep throat, scarlet fever, diphtheria, syphilis, gonorrhea, meningitis, tonsillitis, rheumatic fever, and many other diseases were successfully treated with penicillin. Penicillin brought about the biggest search in medical history. It was reasoned that if there was one antibiotic in nature,



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