The Life of Alexander Fleming and His Discovery of Penicillin, a Group of Antibiotics

When I was five years old I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever of 104 and a sore throat that hurt so bad I couldn’t swallow, The next morning my parents took me to the doctor, and I found out I had strep throat All I needed to be cured was some Penicillin pills for 10 days, which seems easy enough, but before the 1940’s this was not the case Kids like me died from very trivial infections Alexander Fleming was one of the men responsible for the wonder drug discovery He was born in Scotland in 1881, and was the seventh of eight children from a farmer.

Fleming’s brother Tom was a physician and business was booming so he talked him into medical schoolt Fleming scored huge on his qualifying examinations and had his choice of any medical schooL Fleming graduated in 1906 at the age of 25 He was offered a job as a research assistant at the inoculation department at St Mary‘s Hospital in London Funny thing is though his medical background wasn’t the only reason he was offered the job he was a very accurate shooter.

His shooting skills would strengthen the hospital’s rifle team. Fleming would stay at St Mary’s for the rest of his career.  During his career, he worked to find anti-bacterial agents because he had seen so many men die in World War 1 from infected wounds. But it wasn’t until September 28, 1928 that Fleming would accidentally change the world of medicine.

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He had been on vacation with his family and upon return, he was cleaning up his lab. He noticed that on culture contaminated with a fungus, that the colonies of staphylococci immediately surrounding it had been destroyed fleming grew the mold in pure culture and found it a product that killed a number of disease causing bacteria.

He identified it as Penicillium genus and called it mold juice for months. Finally, in march he named the substance Penicillin Alexander Fleming worked for many years unable to prove that it was able to last long enough in the human body to kill bacteria. In 1940 after he was unable to find a chemist to help with his discovery he gave up Shortly after, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain at Oxford took up research and mass-produced penicillin in 1945. PCN has been used to treat staph strep infections and sexually transmitted diseases Fleming, Florey and Chain shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945, and 10 years later Alexander Fleming passed away from heart disease.

Penicillin quickly became a vital tool in the fight against infectious diseases, such as syphilis and gangrene, and was instrumental in saving many lives during World War II. Fleming was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945, along with Florey and Chain, for their work on penicillin. In addition to his work on penicillin, Fleming made several other important contributions to science, including the discovery of lysozyme, an enzyme found in tears and saliva that helps to protect against bacterial infections. He also conducted research on bacterial resistance and the use of antiseptics. Fleming passed away on March 11, 1955, at the age of 73. His discovery of penicillin remains one of the most important and influential breakthroughs in the history of medicine.

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The Life of Alexander Fleming and His Discovery of Penicillin, a Group of Antibiotics. (2023, May 15). Retrieved from

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