The father of penicillin. Alexander Fleming, biologist, pharmacologist and botanist

On September 28, 1928, the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming developed, by chance, penicillin, the most widely used antibiotic in the world.

Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming.

Diseases that are now little more than a few days ago, ninety years ago, could be fatal, as a complication of a simple sore throat that has spread to the lungs has caused death.

Born in the Ayrshire area of ​​south-west Scotland on 6 August 1881, Fleming moved to London at the age of thirteen, where he began his medical research and, after graduating in 1906, began his research work with the pioneer in vaccines Almrot Wright, his mentor at St. Mary’s Hospital in the British capital.

The young Fleming interrupted his career during the First World War to serve in the Army Medical Corps, then returned to his post at St Mary’s.

Where he was famous for not being very careful with the hygiene of his material, he made one of the great discoveries in the history of medicine.

In 1928, after returning from a two-week break, he noticed mold growing in one of his staphylococcal cultures, but while bacteria were everywhere on the plate, none grew around it.

This fungus, known as Penicillium notatum, allowed scientists to develop penicillina set of antibiotics from the group of beta-lactams, which are widely used in the treatment of infections.

The use of penicillin It has been around since 1942, when the US pharmaceutical industry began to produce it on a large scale and was a key factor in the treatment of patients during World War II.

The drug significantly reduces the risk of fatal infections, allowing doctors to conduct more invasive treatments that could save more lives.

Generally speaking, its discovery marked a drastic change in modern medicine, as it marked the beginning of the era of antibiotics, which, together with the discovery of other antibiotics such as streptomycin used to treat tuberculosis, allowed great advances in medicine.

The Scottish scientist also discovered an antimicrobial enzyme known as lysozyme, which works against infections.

However, his most important discovery did not bring him all the fame that could be expected, because when he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945, he shared it with scientists Ernst Boris Cheyne and Howard Walter Florey, responsible for developing penicillin as a medicine.

Fleming wrote numerous papers on immunology and chemotherapy and became an honorary professor of bacteriology at the University of London in 1948.

He was also elected a member of the Royal Society in 1943 and became a knight of the kingdom a year later.