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flemming discovered penicillin by chance
he found it when he wasn't looking of it
he didn't clean up the petri dishes, so mould grew.
gave us government a reason to fund the development and mass production
Later encoraged British government to fund the development
Us government gave money for research and factories for development
Flemming had the talent and observation skills to discover penicillin in the first place
Florey and chain worked together to purify and develop penicillin
Alexander Fleming
Alexander Fleming was a scientist who was working on staphylococci. These are the germs that make wounds go septic.
Whilst cleaning the culture dishes one day he saw a mould growing on one of the plates. This in itself was not unusual,
but on this occasion there were no germs growing around the growth. Curious as to what caused the germs to stop
growing, and eager to find out what the mould was, Fleming grew more of it and experimented. He found that the mould
acted against anthrax and diphtheria without creating any harmful side effects. This was the first occasion that an
antibiotic drug had been developed (an antibiotic is something naturally produced by living organisms, rather than being
a chemical compound). The new drug was a member of the penicillin notatum family, known popularly as penicillin.
Fleming however did little with his discovery. It wasn't until 1935 when researchers Florey and Chain at Oxford University
saw Fleming's research papers that the drug was developed further.
Florey and Chain, the development of Penicillin
Florey and Chain were scientists. They stumbled across Fleming's research papers and were intrigued by his findings.
They were sure that, if Fleming was right, this discovery could save a lot of lives, prevent pain and make it much easier to
fight infectious diseases and prevent other infections.
Florey and Chain developed a system of growing penicillin: which was complicated initially, and tested its effectiveness
on mice. The tests were successful and the two men became convinced that the drug would cure many people who
would otherwise die.
Florey and Chain were unable to expand on the development of the drug, as mass production was not financially feasible
at the time. The penicillin drug became widely available following the United States introduction into the Second World
War during 1941. Once involved in the conflict, the Americans were easily persuaded to develop and produce the drug
for the benefit of Allied Servicemen. The experimentation and development of the research previously conducted by
Fleming produced astounding results. Florey and Chain had discovered a drug that combated the spread of infection,
would allow sick and wounded men a chance of recovering and gave the medical profession a drug that kept the inside
of the body as clean as the tools that were now being treated with antiseptics.
Florey and Chain, along with Alexander Fleming each received the Nobel Prize for the development of the penicillin drug
in 1945.
Penicillin - The significance of the Breakthrough
The discovery, development and subsequent use of penicillin can be considered to be one of the most important
breakthroughs in medical history.
Penicillin prevents a large number of germs from growing. As it is an organic substance it can be used on, or in, the
human body. This meant that for the first time something was available that could, potentially, prevent the decay of the
body or infection from germs whilst operating.
The immediate impact of the discovery is clear. The drug was developed quickly in the War years by the American
government. By developing the drug so readily and so quickly the US Governemtn prevented many soliers from having
war wounds becoming infected: the drug therefore saved a lot of lives and, it could be argued, played a role in helping to
win the war for the Allies.
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)

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After Louis Pasteur's and Robert Koch's publications on the germ theory of disease, doctors developed a better
understanding of the cause of infection. However, methods of treatment were still limited to vaccinations and anti-toxins.
Joseph Lister's carbolic spray worked with some success during operations, but was not suitable for everyday use. The
question was, how could people be protected against infection on a day to day basis?
What brought him to prominence?
Fleming was a farmer's son from Ayrshire in Scotland.…read more

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Fleming discovered pencillin in 1928 ­ He was studying staphylococci germs and saw that penicillium mould could kill
the germs. He thought that penicillin (a drug made from the penicillium mould) might be a useful cure.
Factors which helped him:
Chance: He left some staphylococci germs in a dish. Penicillium mould spores landed in the dish by accident. This
led to Fleming's discovery.
Individual brilliance: Fleming was a genius. He saw that penicillium mould killed germs.…read more


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