Curious History

Curious History

Penicillin: An accidental invention that changed the course of medicine

You might have heard about drug allergy trigged by Penicillin. But Penicillin was a major breakthrough in the history of medicine. This antibiotic is used for the treatment of various bacterial infections. It was 1928 when Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin. There is an interesting story behind the invention of penicillin.

Story behind invention of Penicillin

It was September of 1928, when famous bacteriologist Dr. Alexander Fleming was on duty at St. Mary’s Hospital of London. It was the day when he returned from a long vacation and was not happy to see his messy lab but he continued to work in his lab. While analyzing Staphylococcus aureus, mold named Penicillium notatum came into Dr. Fleming’s notice. This mold had contaminated his Petri dishes. He then carefully examined his contaminated Petri dishes in the microscope. He was astonished to discover that the mold prohibited the staphylococci growth.

After analyzing persnickety mold for more than 2 weeks, Alexander Fleming confirmed his discovery. He concluded that Penicillium mold not only combat with the bacteria but this mold also had capability to combat infectious diseases. Then further testing revealed that the Penicillium notatum was creating a substance which can destroy bacteria.

It was the time when Dr. Alexander Fleming created the history. Yes, penicillin is the first antibiotic in human history. After 14 years, in March 1942, Anne Miller came out as the first patient who was successfully cured with penicillin. This discovery revolutionized the entire medicine world!

Penicillin was totally an accidental invention. Neither St. Mary laboratory had any resources for chemistry experiments nor did Dr. Alexander Fleming had any chemistry background. Well, destiny had its own plans.

Uses of Penicillin

Penicillin is an antibiotic that treat infection caused by bacteria. Common uses of penicillin are:

  • Penicillin can treat tonsillitis (infection).
  • Penicillin can prevent bacterial infections.
  • Penicillin can treat diseases like syphilis.
  • Penicillin can also provide support to immune system which can help people who are vulnerable to infection.

Like a lot of antibiotics, penicillin have side effects, some side effects are mild and some rare. Penicillin and antibiotics like penicillin can result drug allergies. Thus, before consuming penicillin it is recommended that you consult an allergy doctor.

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