Eminent bacteriologist discovered penicillin semicasual way. It was the start of antibiotics and modern medicine.
Fleming in his laboratory
Alexander Fleming was born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield, Great Britain, in a peasant family in the Scottish vega. Was the third of four children held remarried by Hugh Fleming, which died when Alexander was seven years old, leaving his widow to the care of the family ranch with the help of the greatest of her stepchildren. Fleming received, until 1894, a fairly rudimentary education, obtained with difficulty, which however seems to have extracted the taste by detailed observation and the simple way that would later characterize him.
Completed the age of thirteen, he moved to live in London with a stepbrother who worked there as a doctor. She completed her education with two courses at the Regent Street Polytechnic Institute, then used in the offices of a shipping company. In 1900 he joined the London Scottish Regiment with the intention to participate in the Guerra of the Boers, but this ended before his unit arrived to embark. However, his taste for military life led him to remain added to his regiment, taking part in the first world war as an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France.
At the age of twenty, the legacy of a small legacy led him to study medicine. He won a scholarship to St. Mary completo Hospital Medical School in Paddington, institution that, in 1901, began a relationship that was to last throughout his life. In 1906 he joined the team of bacteriologist sir Almroth Wright, with whom he was associated for forty years. In 1908 he graduated, obtaining the Gold Medal of the University of London. Appointed Professor of bacteriology, in 1928 he became Professor, retiring as Emeritus in 1948, although the direction of the Wright-Fleming Institute of Microbiology, founded in her honor and that of his former master and colleague he held until 1954.
Fleming's career was devoted to the investigation of the defenses of the body against bacterial infections. His name is associated with two important discoveries: lysozyme and penicillin. The second is, by far, the most famous and also most important from a practical point of view: both are, however, related to each other, since the first one had the virtue of focus on antibacterial substances that may have some therapeutic application.
Fleming discovered lysozyme in 1922, when it was revealed that runny nose possessed the power to dissolve certain types of bacteria. It proved once that power depended on an active enzyme, lysozyme, present in many of the body's tissues, although of activity restricted by what is reflected to the pathogenic organisms causing diseases. Despite this limitation, the find was revealed highly interesting, since it showed the possibility of that there are substances which are harmless to the cells of the body, are lethal to bacteria. As a result of the investigations undertaken by Paul Ehrlich thirty years earlier, medicine was already after a result of this type, although obtained successes had been very limited.
The discovery of penicillin, one of the most important acquisitions of modern Therapeutics, had its origin in a fortuitous observation. In September 1928, Fleming, during a study on mutations of certain colonies of staphylococci, found that one of the crops had been accidentally contaminated by a microorganism from the outside air, a fungus subsequently identified as Penicillium notatum. His thoroughness led him to observe the behavior of the crop, noting that around the initial area of contamination, staphylococci had been made transparent, phenomenon that Fleming correctly interpreted as an effect of an anti-bacterial substance secreted by the fungus.
Once isolated this, Fleming knew how to take advantage of the limited resources available to reveal the properties of this substance. Thus, he found that a pure culture of the fungus broth gained, in a few days, a considerable level of antibacterial activity. He made various experiences aimed to establish the degree of susceptibility to a wide range of pathogenic bacteria broth, noting that many of them were rapidly destroyed; injecting the culture in rabbits and mice, it showed that it was harmless for leukocytes, what constituted a reliable index of who should be harmless to the animal cells.
Eight months after their first observations, Fleming published the results in a report which is today considered a classic on the subject, but which at the time did not have much resonance. While Fleming grasped the importance of the phenomenon of antibiosis had discovered from the beginning (even very dilute the substance possessed antibacterial power far superior to the so powerful as carbolic acid antiseptics), penicillin took still 15 years to become the universal therapeutic agent which was to become.
The reasons for this delay are varied, but one of the most important factors that determined it was the instability of penicillin, converting its purification in an exceedingly difficult process for the chemical techniques available. The solution to the problem came with the investigations developed at Oxford by the team who directed the Australian pathologist H. W. Florey and the German chemist e. B. Chain, sought refuge in England, who, in 1939, obtained an important subsidy for the systematic study of the antimicrobial substances secreted by microorganisms. In 1941 were the first satisfactory results with human patients. The situation of war determined that they will be they destined to the development of the product important enough as to which resources already in 1944, all the seriously injured in the battle of Normandy could be treated with penicillin.
With a certain delay, fame finally overtook Fleming, who was elected to the Royal Society in 1942, received the title of sir, two years later, and finally, in 1945, Nobel shared with Florey and Chain award. He died in London on March 11, 1955.
Chronology of Alexander Fleming
|1881||Born in Lochfield, Great Britain.|
|1906||He began to work in the Saint Mary's Hospital in London.|
|1921||Discover the inhibitory properties of lysozyme.|
|1928||He was appointed Professor at the University of London.|
|1942||First treatment with penicillin in charge of H. W. Florey.|
|1945||Gets the Nobel Prize of medicine, with H. W. Florey and e. B. Chain. He published his work the penicillin, its practical applications.|
|1955||Dies in London.|
Alexander Fleming and penicillin
The British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming owes its fame to the discovery of penicillin, an antibiotic that revolutionized modern medicine. Use of this substance allows to treat various diseases which, until well into the 20th century, were considered incurable.
It should be recognized that the fact that it is possible to use penicillin nowadays is not only Fleming, but rather it was the result of the efforts of several researchers. British bacteriologist discovered the antibiotic in 1928, to study a culture of bacteria presenting a State of Lysis due to accidental contamination by a fungus. The own Fleming was commissioned, with the help of a mycologist studying the fungus, which was awarded the name of penicillin. However, were the Australian doctor Howard Walter Florey and Ernst Boris Chain German biochemist who started a detailed and systematic investigation of natural antibiotics and who promoted the manufacturing and medical use of penicillin.
Fleming in his laboratory
Penicillin began to be used on a massive scale in the second world war, where its therapeutic value was evident. Since then, used with great effectiveness in the treatment against many infectious germs, especially coconuts; in this sense, it has been extremely useful to combat diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
In fact, penicillin started the era of antibiotics, substances that have allowed to increase life expectancy rates throughout the world. In fact, the model of preparation of antibiotics comes from penicillin. Similarly, the relative simplicity of the core of the structure of this substance, as well as the ease of substitutions in the radical ends, have allowed that, nowadays, are numerous synthetic or semisynthetic Penicillins.