How Did Penicillin Change The World

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The Spores That Changed the World “The discovery of penicillin not only revolutionized medicine, but changed the world” (“Penicillin”). Penicillin was the first in a class of drugs called antibiotics. The introduction of penicillin ended centuries of failure to cure infections (“Penicillin”). Alexander Fleming is, amongst others, the most notable founder of penicillin. During his summer vacation, Fleming went to his trial lab at Saint Mary’s Hospital to check on some of his ongoing projects. While he was there, he observed something strange in one of his petri dishes, where he was growing staphylococcus bacteria. A spore of mold had fallen into the dish, and the bacteria near the mold had been broken down (“Penicillin”). This mold’s…show more content…
The introduction of penicillin during a time of war was a considerable advantage, the drug saved the lives of countless soldiers that would have died of infectious diseases or infected wounds in the war, or from post-war injuries (Friedman, Meyer, and Friedland 178). Some historians believe that the introduction and availability of penicillin during World War I was a direct factor in the Allied victory (“Penicillin”). This is because Germans lost a substantial amount of soldiers, as a result of infection. They may have had an improved chance at winning if a great deal of their troops had not died of infection (“Penicillin”). The Allied side had access to the penicillin when it was discovered, so most of their soldiers did not die from infection (“Penicillin”). Some Allied scientists and chemists were fearful of what would happen if the Germans invaded Britain in WWII and acquired the formula for penicillin. Many scientists hid the mold spores in their coat pockets, in case they had to leave at a moment 's notice, they would be able to continue their work elsewhere (Bédoyère, 30). “After the war, penicillin became available to civilians” (“Penicillin). Physicians and nurses reported cases where patients had been on the verge of death, when an infusion of penicillin brought them back (“Penicillin”). As a result of more and more people being cured of…show more content…
“... There is not enough Penicillium mold of the right kind to give us large quantities of penicillin” (“Penicillin”). Because of this, it took scientists a long time to get enough of the mold to conduct experimental trials and then an even more prolonged time to release to the public. The drug also does not remain in the blood stream for very long, meaning people would need more than one dose to cure them of an infection. This means that scientists had to produce a large quantity of the drug for it to be effective in a large, semi long-term setting. This problem also directly relates to the problem of not having enough of the mold. If scientists needed to make more penicillin, but they didn’t have enough mold, then they wouldn’t be able to make enough medicine to help all of the sick or dying people. Despite this problem however, there was a beneficial impact from it. While trying to figure out a way to make the penicillin last longer or remain in the blood stream for a longer time, scientists made a huge discovery that would help them in their goal of creating enough penicillin for a multitude of people. The scientists discovered that the penicillin would still be able to fight the virus even if it was diluted 80,000,000 times. This was because of the extremely high antibacterial activity (Penicillin: Discovery). This discovery meant that they could make their supply of mold last alot longer. Unfortunately, the Penicillium mold was an unstable and hard to purify
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