Weekly Dose: penicillin, the mould that saves millions of lives

In developed countries, infectious diseases accounted for most deaths until very recently. And in developing countries, infectious diseases remain the cause of death for a large percentage of the population. It is in this setting that the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming was so instrumental in shaping modern health care. For the first time we had a reliable weapon against common infections; this was the start of the antibiotic era. Discovery The serendipitous discovery of penicillin is testament to the importance of observation. Fleming noticed the mould Penicillium had antibacterial properties and deduced it must be secreting…
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