A Timeline of Penicillin

by Kim Krueger

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Before Penicillin was found....

Before the discovery of Penicillin bacteria would run wild in the body, making issues with people with weakened immune systems and without penicillin after surgeries or other treatments the subject was very susceptible to infection. Penicillin is used to treat diseases such as tonstillitis, pneumonia, rheumatic fever and blood poisoning. This meant that people could get different diseases or infection very easily.
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From 1861 to 1865...

Many bacterial diseases and infections were daily life during the Civil War with outbreaks of tuberculosis and many other diseases. Poor hygiene and exposure to weather also created problems where people where not very immune to many other diseases and infections from battlefield surgeries. This is another point where Penicillin could have been greatly needed to save many lives.
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Outbreaks of Tonsillitis

In 1911, before the discovery of Penicillin, an outbreak of septic sore throat was discovered in eastern Massachusetts, which may have been caused from a single milk supply. Without Penicillin this was hard to treat.
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32 Years before....

Ernest Duchesne noted that some molds can kill some bacteria, which began the discovery of Penicillin, although he did not know of it's antibacterial properties. He documented his findings in his thesis after learning from Arab stable boys that mold helped heal saddle sores on horses.
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In 1928...

Penicillin was accidently discovered by Alexander Flemming for its antibacterial properties after leaving a Petri dish of bacteria open to the air. He discovered it growing on bacteria and it was killing the bacteria. Penicillin is a type of fungi that destroys the bacteria near it.
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After the discovery...

It was a hard time to produce and study the new drug at Oxford University. The war limited supplies so the teams were reduced to use metal tins, bedpans, and baths to culture the fungi. And at the time the university was turned into a penicillin factory.
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Who was the first test subject?

The subject was 43 year old policeman Albert Alexander, who injured himself while cutting roses and had a life-threatening infection from a cut along his face. On February 12, 1941 he was given Penicillin and he made a miraculous recovery, but unfortunately he died a few days later from the low supply of the drug. But his death spurred more research and later more production of penicillin.
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the 1940s....

It was the beginning of the era of antibiotics with the discovery of penicillin. That era is known as one of the greatest advances in modern medicine.
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WWII...

Penicillin was massively produced for the war and thus expanded the medical need for penicillin. Before this penicillin was not a widely available drug but with it in mass production it was a drug used all around the world.
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The Impact

Honestly penicillin was one of the greatest discoveries made by scientists. It has saved hundred of million lives and will continue to. Just imagine getting a paper cut and then getting a deadly infection from just a paper cut. Penicillin saves you from the said infection. One of the bad things that it wasn't discovered sooner, so it could have save more lives. But now we have it and it is now accessible to most of world to help people.

Sources

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM191112141652401 - "An Outbreak of Tonsillitis or Septic Sore Throat in Eastern Massachusetts and Its Relation to an Infected Milk Supply — NEJM." New England Journal of Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

http://www.omgfacts.com/health/7509/Ernest-Duchesne-discovered-penicillin-32-years-before-Alexander-Fleming-but-he-was-ignored-because-he-was-only-23-ab963-0 - "Ernest Duchesne Discovered Penicillin 32 Years before Alexander Fleming, but He Was Ignored Because He Was Only 23!" OMG Facts. OMG Facts, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/pdfs/civil-was-curriculum-medicine.pdf - 1, Medical. "Civil War Medicine." W H Y ? (n.d.): n. pag. Civil War.org. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216798.php - Paddock, Mike. "Penicillin: How Does Penicillin Work?" Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/flemingpenicillin.html#alexander-fleming-penicillin - Society, National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program of the American Chemical. "Alexander Fleming Discovery and Development of Penicillin - Landmark - American Chemical Society." Alexander Fleming Discovery and Development of Penicillin - Landmark - American Chemical Society. National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program of the American Chemical Society, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.