Monday, March 19, 2012

Penicillin as an Important Medical Treatment Breakthrough

As far as medical treatment is concerned, no discovery came at a more auspicious time than Penicillin. Around the time of World War II getting injured not only put you a risk of death by the injury itself, but recovery was tempestuous at best with infections running rampant. Although the groundwork was laid out in 1928, it wouldn’t be until 1940 that the use of Penicillin would be actualised. Essentially Penicillin is the earliest and most widely used antibiotic agent as medical help or treatment; derived from the Penicillin mold naturally. Antibiotics occur naturally being released by bacteria and fungi into the environment and to a certain extent serve as chemical warfare on a bacterial scale.

The Discovery

In 1928 a Scottish scientist by the name of Alexander Fleming noticed that bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus could be killed off by the mold Penicillium Notatum which served to confirm there was an antibacterial agent present. Naturally this instance was put into the context of medical emergency treatment of bacterial infections and diseases in human being, although many years later. In fact at the time of Fleming’s discovery, the significance of it was lost on many. Then in the 1940s an applicable substance containing Penicillin was developed by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain.

Early Penicillin Research

While Fleming is credited majorly when talking about Penicillin and its use in public and private medical treatment, it was first uncovered in 1896 by Ernest Duchesne, but rediscovered later. Fleming is often credited because it was he who saw the implications of the substance and its consent for medical treatment in high volumes; he published these findings in a paper dated 1929. Soon after Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was able to map out the structural layout of atoms using an x-ray which lead scientists to develop other antibiotics. It was in 1939 that Dr. Howard Florey began to dissect the effects of Penicillin with great enthusiasm. With the threat of World War II bearing down on them, the function of Penicillin for medical treatment in the UK was of great importance to the Allied forces.

Penicillin Actualised

July 9th 1941 Florey arrived in the U.S with a very small important package containing a start up amount of Penicillin; with Britain under constant bombardment it wasn’t save or practical to try and develop a bacteria farm there. Then the race was on to grow as much Penicillin as possible and the search for the fastest growing type went global. Medical treatment facilities were waiting with bated breath for a breakthrough. In the end it was a strain found from a mouldy cantaloupe in a Peoria market that produced the most desirable speed of growth. From then on it became a simple case of distributing the brand new medical treatment to the needy injured around the world and to this day Penicillin is still widely used for this purpose.