Essay by lahonuMiddle School, 6th grade April 2006

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Sir Alexander Fleming was a British bacteriologist best known for the discovery of the antibiotic Penicillin. The reason he decided to try and discover a cure is because in those days if you had a disease there was no cure so people died of diseases. Penicillin was needed because in the hospital many people had open wounds. Bacteria that would enter the wound was dangerous because it could poison the blood stream, usually leading to death. In 1922 Fleming made an observation that a human teardrop contained a chemical capable of destroying bacteria and at an alarming rate. He discovered Penicillin accidentally in 1928 while researching influenza. He experimented on a patient that was very ill and was close to dying. They gave him penicillin every three hours. Since the Penicillin was in short supply, the doctors had to collect his urine and extract the Penicillin from it. After five days the patient's condition improved dramatically.

But each time it went through the patient's body less of the Penicillin was extracted and soon all the supply was gone. Once this happened, the patient became ill again and ended up dying. When this happened, other doctors did not look at his work seriously. His work was not really looked at again until World War II began and soldiers were dying from their open wounds. Two medical researchers, Howard Florey and Ernest Chain, started looking at Fleming's work with penicillin. After many studies they were able to create a powdered form of Penicillin and the first human was successfully treated. Before long Penicillin was in full production. Fleming, Florey and Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1945.