Thoughtful essays, short stories, or poems on philosophical issues related to science, medical practice, and human health. Topics may include science and the human condition, the unanticipated side of epidemic investigations, or how people perceive and cope with infections and illness.
After just over 75 years of penicillin’s clinical use, the world can see that its impact was immediate and profound. In 1928, a chance event in Alexander Fleming’s London laboratory changed the course of medicine. However, the purification and first clinical use of penicillin would take more than a decade. Unprecedented United States/Great Britain cooperation to produce penicillin was incredibly successful by 1943. This success overshadowed efforts to produce penicillin during World War II in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. Information about these efforts, available only in the last 10–15 years, provides new insights into the story of the first antibiotic. Researchers in the Netherlands produced penicillin using their own production methods and marketed it in 1946, which eventually increased the penicillin supply and decreased the price. The unusual serendipity involved in the discovery of penicillin demonstrates the difficulties in finding new antibiotics and should remind health professionals to expertly manage these extraordinary medicines.
Gaynes R. The Discovery of Penicillin—New Insights After More Than 75 Years of Clinical Use. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(5):849-853. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2305.161556
Gaynes R. The Discovery of Penicillin—New Insights After More Than 75 Years of Clinical Use. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2017;23(5):849-853. doi:10.3201/eid2305.161556.
Gaynes, R. (2017). The Discovery of Penicillin—New Insights After More Than 75 Years of Clinical Use. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 23(5), 849-853. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2305.161556.
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