Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28

"When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn't plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer.” So recalled Scottish biologist and pharmacologist Sir Alexander Fleming, who was working with staphylococci when he saw, in one culture, that this bacteria had surrounded and destroyed a fungus contamination. The resulting mold (of the Penicillium genus) killed other disease-causing bacteria. In 1929 he named the "mould juice” it released “penicillin.” He gave up efforts to refine his discovery in the 1930s, but Oxford researchers Howard Florey and Ernst Chain (with whom Fleming later shared a Nobel Prize) succeeded in mass-producing it early in World War II. Today, many bacteria are now resistant to the world’s first “wonder drug.”

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