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Homework Help: Solved 191388

Antibiotics play a major role in the field of medicine today. Yet many do not know of how they got their start. Who could’ve imagined that something we use today on a regular basis in hospitals, clinics, and private offices was discovered by chance? The discovery of antibiotics was slow, but once it was really paid attention to on the affect it could have, antibiotics are now something the world could not do without. (Rosenberg, 2011) In September 1928 a man by the name of Alexander Fleming would make a discovery that would change medicine forever. Fleming had just returned from a vacation with his family and was going through stacks of Petri dishes. These petri dishes were experiments he had left before going on vacation. He was sifting through them to see which ones could still be used and which ones needed to be gotten rid of. While cleaning and getting rid of the contaminated dishes one in particular stuck out at him, it was growing mold but, the mold that was growing had killed off the Staphylococcus aureus that had been growing in the dish. It was then that he realized he had by chance discovered something very substantial. Research with the bacteria staphylococci was something he had been performing and had other discoveries in. At the time of his discoveries most of his research was revolved around finding a cure for scarlet fever, pneumonia, diphtheria, and typhoid fever. After his finding he published them in 1929 in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology. His publication gained little or no attention and he soon ran into another problem with the penicillin itself. He found it hard to cultivate and it proved to be even more of a problem to isolate the antibiotic agent. Because of these two things Fleming came to two assumptions, first that the penicillin would not be important in treating infection due to the fact that it seemed slow acting and there was the problem of producing a great enough quantity. Secondly, he assumed that the penicillin would not stay in the body for a long enough period of time to kill bacteria effectively. Fleming continued his work and many trials after that did show promise but in 1940 he finally abandoned his penicillin research, giving someone else the chance to possibly find a way to refine the penicillin. (Lloyd, 2009) Not long after Fleming had abandoned his research two chemists by the names of Howard Florey and Ernst Chain soon took up the task of refining the penicillin. Something Fleming alone had not been able to do. Ernst Chain, a biochemist who had fled Nazi Germany in 1939 had come across Fleming’s earlier work on penicillin. Along with Howard Florey, an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist, who was also Chain’s supervisor at the time helped to isolate the antibiotic in a larger quantity. The first experiment that was conducted two with mice by injecting the penicillin into the mice which had been infected with bacterial disease. The mice recovered and they furthered their research by increasing their numbers from just two to fifty mice. Even though by doing these experiments the scientists still ran into a huge problem. They could hardly isolate enough of the antibiotic to help one person let alone possibly thousands, and World War II was soon approaching making their need for a solution of even more importance. Ernst took on most of the responsibility of isolating and testing the penicillin to make sure it was in fact safe for use on humans. Florey took on the task of how to get the penicillin mass produced by locating companies that would take on this daunting task. Several companies in the U.S. agreed to mass produce the antibiotic due to the fact that many others would be preparing for the upcoming war. (Lloyd, 2009) World War II played a major part in getting the antibiotic mass produced. It pushed and challenged companies like Merck and Co. and Pfizer to find better ways of efficiently producing large enough quantities for many people. In March of 1942 the first patient was treated for streptococcal septicemia, which ended up using half of the total supply available on that one patient. By June in 1942 there was only enough left to help ten patients. Soon in 1943 another discovery was found by a woman in a Peoria, Illinois market. Her name was Mary Hunt, a lab worker and she brought a moldy cantaloupe which turned out to be infected with another strain of penicillin called, Penicillin chysogeum. This new species of penicillin would produce more than 200 times more than the strain Fleming had discovered and with some research and more experimenting with x-rays to mutate the strain, they were able to increase that number to 1000 times more. By 1944 they were able to produce 2.3 million doses of this antibiotic just in time before the invasion of Normandy. During the World War this drug proved to be very vital in curing infections of wounds and amputations. Large scale production was engineered by a woman named Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, who created a fermentation deep-tank. A man by the name of G. Raymond Rettew had a great contribution during this time for coming up with techniques to produce commercial quantities of penicillin. During the war The National Health System was established in Britain. This system gave free health care to those who were in need because prior to this if you needed a shot of penicillin you would have had to pay for it. (Moberg

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