penicillin is the first antibiotic drug to be discovered. Penicillin is derived from the Penicillium mould or produced synthetically. It was discovered by Sir Alexander
Fleming in 1928. The discovery of penicillin led to the discovery of many other antibiotics.
There are various types of penicillin. They are used to treat different kinds of infections
such as skin infections, dental infections, ear infections, respiratory tract infections,
urinary tract infections, and other infections caused by bacteria. Examples of penicillins
are penicillin V and amoxycillin.
Discovery of penicillin
Alexander Fleming was a British biologist and pharmacist. He accidentally discovered
penicillin in 1928. He was carrying out experiments with various organic substances
He cultured the organic substances in small glass petri dishes in his laboratory. Often the dishes were infected with mould spores and bacteria. He once noticed that a bacterial Staphylococcus culture had been contaminated by a fungus. He carefully examined it and found that there was a zone around the fungus that was completely devoid of bacteria.
He found that the fungus produced some sort of diffusible substance that killed the bacteria. He then identified the fungus as Penicillium notatum. Fleming separated the substance which killed the bacteria and called it penicillin.
After the discovery of penicillin, the drug saved chousands of lives on battlefields and around the world. It was available to common people by 1945. Sir Alexander Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of penicillin in 1945.
Ernest Duchesne was a French physician. He observed that certain moulds kill bacteria
He made this discovery 32 years before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.
Dr. Cecil Paine Dr. Cecil Paine was a former student of Alexander Fleming. While working at the University and Royal Infirmary in Sheffield, he read Fleming’s 1929 paper. He was inspired to try using penicilin in the form of a very crude extract with some of his patients. A local miner had a stone lodged in his eye. The wound was so badly infected that the
eye needed to be removed. Dr. Paine successfully cured the miner’s injured eye by washing the Infected area with penicilin extract. He also cured a baby, who had a severe eye infection using penicilin extract. He was the first scientist who used the crude extracts of penicillin to cure infections in human beings.
First receivers of penicillin
Albert Alexander, a 43-year old policeman, was the First patient to receive the penicilin was the first patient antibiotic in 1941. He was treated by Dr Howard Florey, head of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford. Unfortunately he died because of lack of supply of penicillin. However, the next two penicilin treatments were successful. The first was a 15-year old boy who had a form of blood poisoning from a badly inflamed hip joint and the second was a 48-year old labourer who had a large carbuncle on his back.
Andrew J. Moyer
Andrew J. Moyer successfully developed a method for the mass production of penicilin. Moyer, with the assistance of Dr Heatley, increased the yields of penicilin 10 times. Moyer’s
discovery provided the foundation for the large-scale production of penicillin. It helped save thousands of lives during the Second World War. Dr Andrew J. Moyer was inducted into
the Inventors Hall of Fame for his contribution.
Structure of penícillin
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was a British chemist who first studied the structure of
penicilin using the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine
the three-dimensional structures of bio- molecules. She received the Nobel Prize for
Chemistry in 1964 for her achievements.