Biography of Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin and father of modern pharmacology

Biography of Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin and father of modern pharmacology

Alexander Fleming He was born on August 6, 1881 in Darvel (Scotland), and died on March 11, 1955 in London. He grew up in a humble family, and nothing suggested that he would become one of the most important people of his time, laying the groundwork for most drugs and antibiotics that were yet to be developed.

Fleming was the reincarnation of the old idea of ​​the "man who makes himself." Well, from peasant origins, Alexander, channeled his life to pay for studies that would lead him to the medical world, where he invented and developed one of the basic components of antibiotics, penicillin.

As a result of his studies in medicine, he obtained a government scholarship to study at the St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington. His research focused mainly on the reactions of human defenses to bacteria that entered the body.

Their two biggest discoveries, for which it went down in history, were that of lysozyme and penicillin.

While researching, mucus from a sneeze fell onto bacteria from a Petri dish. Days later, Fleming saw that the bacteria had died in the fluid-stained areas. This is how he discovered the antimicrobial enzyme lysozyme.

Fleming discovered penicillin by chance

In 1928When he was going to destroy cultures, he saw that on a plate with Staphylococcus aureus a spontaneously grown fungus had killed the bacteria around it. It was the mold Penicillium notatum, which produces a natural antibacterial substance: penicillin.

His meticulousness led him to observe the behavior of said culture, verifying that around the initial zone of contamination the staphylococci had been destroyed. Alexander Fleming understood that this phenomenon was effect of some type of antibacterial substance secreted by the same fungus.

He verified then, that a pure culture medium, the fungus acquired in a very short time a significant level of antibacterial activity. There they began their tests with numerous bacteria capable of causing diseases in humans, and found that the substance of the fungus reacted with the bacteria, being destroyed when they came into contact with the culture.

Fleming published his discovery in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology in 1929 and he did not patent it. Nobody paid attention to him.

Although it was at that moment that penicillin was born, its internationalization would not be possible until 13 years later, since certain “readjustments” still had to be made in the formula to adapt it to the human organism without damaging it.

Officially, Fleming's invention began to yield positive results in 1941, helping to combat multiple infectious diseases, such as the dreaded Syphilis, which until now had no cure, laying the foundations of modern pharmacology.

In the Second World War the antibiotic sparked the interest of chemists. The German Ernst Boris Chain and the australian Howard Walter Florey they developed a method to synthesize penicillin and started production plants in the USA. In 1945, they shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with Fleming.

Video: Alexander Fleming Biography