Whilst the Twentieth Century can lay claim to some of the most dramatic and profound developments in scientific discovery one of the important and revered is that of Penicillin. How this miracle came to be is quite remarkable involving the efforts of several scientists to bring this gift to the world. It has taken years of study and development including Adaptive Phase 1 Studies, patience, dedication and grit to what it is today.
Penicillin’s discovery of the work of one man, Alexander Fleming. It was already known that certain moulds had some effects on blood borne infections but nothing was as effective as the mould that sat in Fleming’s aga plate that fateful day. In fact, the aga plate with the mould sample was almost cleaned and lost. It was purely by chance that Fleming noticed the mould had caused the streptococcus in the aga plate to greatly recede and that he had something.
However, although Fleming is credited with the discovery of the development and drive to get the drug approved and mass produced it fell to the scientists Ernest Chain and Howard Florey. These two men, greatly assisted by the Scientist Norman Heatley, convinced the large American drug firms that this had huge potential. Fleming did not have the wit or personality so these three are the real heroes as without them we may not have had the drug at all! The production and development of the drug is the real hardwork. With trials and much ingenuity Florey, Chain and Heatley were able to purify the mould so it could be used. Fleming had lost interest in having a more analytical brain; this process seemed too difficult to pursue. Luckily others felt different.