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How Penicillin’s discovery was able to impact the world of medicine

Penicillin is the world’s first wonder drug. If it wasn’t for this miracle that Sir Alexander Fleming had discovered, you would be in big danger if you got an infection. Today, if you get an infection, you can be treated immediately with penicillin or other antibiotics. However, before penicillin was discovered, getting an infection was almost as feared as getting cancer today. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin made a huge impact on medicine and humanity. It has cured many people from deadly infections and diseases and was dubbed a “Miracle Drug”. In addition, it saved countless soldiers in World War II who could have died from infected wounds, and sicknesses. Some of the key concepts of the revolution of Penicillin, is the actual discovery of Penicillin, it’s impact to World War II, and how it affected medicine.

Penicillin was discovered on a mere coincidence. Sir Alexander Fleming had discovered it when he was studying bacteria and discovered some mold on one of his experiments. It was a ruined experiment; however, he had seen this situation before. He had once been studying a colony of bacteria when a tear dropped into his experiment and killed the bacteria inside. “He looked closely at the mold that had ruined his Petri dish of bacteria and saw that there were no bacteria near the mold. He named this mold

Penicillium Notatum”[Holms]. It became the first to join a group of drugs called antibiotics. “When Penicillin was first discovered, it could kill any type of bacteria Alexander Fleming had tested it on, however it wasn’t pure enough to be used on human being. Nevertheless, it could still be used on wounds and infections. [Holms]” Later, Howard Florey and Ernst B. Chain continued Fleming’s work and found a way to make a purer and stronger type of Penicillin. However, World War II cut England’s funds and Florey and Chain had to ask for help in America. “However, they pressed on and finally made a Penicillin that can treat infections and diseases, part of the medical world. [Tocci]”

The use and effectiveness of penicillin became obvious during the World War II. During World War I the death rate from pneumonia in the arm was 18%. After Penicillin was discovered, there was a death rate 1% in World War II. “Fleming…was even impressed by Penicillin’s impact during World War II… soldiers quickly recovered from their wounds because of Penicillin… [Wong]” Penicillin was used regularly during World War II to treat allied soldiers who were either wounded or suffering from a bacterial disease. As the destruction of the war grew, so did interest in penicillin in laboratories, universities and drug companies. Scientist’s were interested in this miracle drug that can cure many infections and kill deadly bacteria. In the end, Penicillin had greatly reduced deaths in WWII by wounds or diseases.

“Penicillin brought about the biggest search in medical history. It was reasoned that if there was one antibiotic in nature, there must be many more… [Wong]” Bacteria can cause huge problems if they are not treated with a drug that can kill bacteria. Penicillin became the first drug that could quickly kill bacteria. It was also the first drug to join a group of drugs called antibiotics. As the first of the antibiotics, it can cure many diseases such as pneumonia, blood poisoning, strep throat, scarlet fever, diphtheria, syphilis, gonorrhea, meningitis, tonsillitis, rheumatic fever, and more… Before Penicillin was created, life threatening infections were cured by cutting off the body part that has the infection. Nowadays infections and diseases can be easily cured by the many antibiotics that scientists have discovered after Penicillin. “Many of you are here only because penicillin saved your life, or the life of one of your parents or grandparents. Penicillin’s ability to cure people of many once-fatal bacterial infections has saved so many lives that it is easy to understand why it was once called a “miracle drug”. [Fogel]”

In sum, Penicillin is an impacting discovery in medicine. Without it, many would die from infection because of a little cut. Penicillin was called the “Wonder Drug” and was the first to join a group of weapons that fought one of the greatest enemies of mankind, disease. With this amazing discovery by Alexander Fleming, we have been able to cure many people from deadly infections and diseases. Penicillin is truly worthy of the name, the World’s first Wonder Drug.

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