Alexander Fleming | Short Biography, His Discovery of Penicillin (Antibiotic)

Alexander Fleming | Short Biography, His Discovery of Penicillin (Antibiotic)

Alexander Fleming – British physician and bacteriologist

Alexander Fleming is a physician, biologist and pharmacologist. During research in bacteriology, he discovered penicillin by chance and allowed the creation of antibiotics.

The term antibiotics mostly refers to drugs or drugs used to treat bacterial infectious diseases. Together with agents against infectious diseases caused by protozoa (antiprotozoic agents), against fungi (antimycotics), against viruses (antivirals) and worms (anthelmintics), they form the group of therapeutic agents against infectious diseases (anti-infectives).

Alexander Fleming’s entire career took place at Saint Mary’s Hospital in London, where he became a professor in 1919. In 1928, he discovered by chance that the bacterial proliferation was inhibited by a banal mold, Penicillium notatum, but did not have the means. necessary for further chemical extraction research. It was in 1939 that a team of researchers from the Oxford pathology laboratory, led by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, resumed their work and succeeded in chemically isolating the substance at the origin of this action, penicillin, thus allowing to industrially produce this antibiotic. The first human trials, which took place in 1941, ushered in the era of antibiotics.

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Short biography of Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming, born August 6, 1881 in Lochfield, Scotland, is a British physician, biologist and pharmacologist. In October 1901 he passed his entrance exams at the University of London. He studied at Saint Mary’s Hopital Medical School which would later become the Wright-Fleming Institute. In 1908 Alexander Fleming was awarded the gold medal from the University of London, having come first in the medical exams. In 1928, he taught bacteriology there. Alexander Fleming then began research in this area and discovered a bactericidal enzyme called lysozyme.

Doctor Fleming discovers penicillin

It was also around this time, on September 3, 1928, that Alexander Fleming would, by chance, make his greatest discovery. While studying bacteria called staphylococci, some of his culture dishes became contaminated with a mold spore while he was away. This fungus is called “Penicillium notatum” and behaves like an antibacterial agent, bacteria move away from it. Doctor Flemming thus discovered “Penicillin”. His research will pave the way for the use of antibiotics to cure infectious diseases. It was researchers Howard Florey and Ernst Chain who found how to reproduce and stabilize penicillin in drug form ten years later.

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Alexander Fleming receives the Nobel Prize

When World War II broke out, the use of penicillin saved thousands of lives. In 1943, Alexander Fleming became a member of the Royal Society of London and received the Knight’s Cross in 1944. A year later, his work on penicillin as well as that of Howard Florey and Ernst Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. He also receives the United States Medal of Merit. The same year, the Canadian Medicines Association awarded him his Medal of Honor. Sir Alexander Fleming died on March 11, 1955 in London from a heart attack at the age of seventy-three.

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September 3, 1928: Discovery of penicillin
Sir Alexander Fleming, professor of bacteriology and British researcher, discovers penicillin. Having gone on vacation, he leaves his laboratory for a while. On his return, he noticed that his boxes were covered with a kind of white and greenish foam. Before his departure, he had deposited staphylococci there. When he takes a closer look at the mold, which happens to be a fungus called “penicillium notatum,” he realizes that some places have not had staphylococci. This is how he discovers the bactericidal substance produced by this fungus and calls it penicillin. However, it was not until the work of Howard Florey and Ernst Chain that penicillin could be cured in the 1940s.

Sources: PinterPandai, National Center of Biotechnology InformationNational Institutes of HealthHektoen International

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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