Bacteria and Penicillin

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Imagine life without antibiotics, people dying of a whooping cough, a minor wound or even a simple infection. Until the accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Flemming, life was like this. The positive effects for the discovery of penicillin were the many medical advancements made both therapeutically and medicinally. Economically, people were living longer lives and populations were growing more rapidly. Socially, people were able to interact without risking the development of a life threatening illness.

Penicillin was one of the biggest breakthroughs in history and it continues to save many lives. The discovery of penicillin has therapeutically revolutionized one’s ability to fight what are known today as simple bacterial infections. In World War Two, many soldiers were dying from seemingly mild wounds and illnesses such as sore throats. Physicians felt helpless and were desperate to find effective ways to treat and save those afflicted. Successful mass-production techniques led to a large distribution of penicillin to those in the Second World War.

This large distribution comforted soldiers and allowed their bodies to heal from wounds and from sicknesses. From this point on, infections became easier to treat and penicillin was attributed to saving millions of lives. Following the war, worldwide distribution of penicillin began and resulted in a significant reduction of morbidity and mortality rate from bacterial infections. The discovery of the very first antibiotic has led to many important medicinal advances, which has helped revolutionize today’s health care system.

The synthesis of penicillin has led to the pharmaceutical production of various types of other antibiotics. If someone is present with an allergy to penicillin, another antibiotic could be prescribed, so that they are still able to fight off the infection. The production of other antibiotics has also made greater medicinal advancements as the more antibiotics discovered, the greater the likelihood of finding cures for other strands of infections that penicillin could not cure. Scientists are continuously working to discover new medicines, and penicillin sparked another new discovery.

The scientists came across penicillamine, a derivative of penicillin, found in the urine of those treated with penicillin. Penicillamine was discovered to have immunosuppressant properties and is now used in the treatment of arthritis. These advancements sparked by the production of penicillin haveall positively affected the medical world. The benefits of penicillin have not been limited to the medical sphere alone, but also economically. Economically, the discovery of penicillin has made a significantly positive impact on modern society.

In the early nineteen hundreds, pneumonia, childbirth and minor infections were killing young and previously healthy people. This led to the death of many people and, in turn, resulted in a decline of eligible men for the workforce. This was bad for many families as eventually the wives had to uncover a source of income, as men were the ones who would work. This was very difficult for the women as they were supposed to be watching their children, but had to also find ways of making money. Penicillin provided a cure for many bacterial infections, thus saving peoples lives and enabling a longer life.

With longer lives, populations were able to grow and reproduce. “By 1960, seventy percent of infants could be expected to survive to age 65, instead of 45 years old in 1920” (Francis). The introduction of penicillin enabled populations to grow and the economic situations have become more sustainable. The economic situation was more sustainable as people were able to live longer so they could work longer and help maintain a steady economy. The benefits were obvious and very impressive as people were able to live longer, live healthier, be better educated and be medically cared for.

Furthermore there was a positive affect on the economy through the discovery of penicillin, socially there were also benefits. With the advent of penicillin came optimism and a sense of well being as there was a definite improvement in a social quality of life. When the whooping cough and pneumonia were so common, people thought that with socializing came the introduction to the spread of diseases, infection and death. After the discovery of penicillin, many people lost their fear of being in crowds and people were able to venture out and be social.

Prior to antibiotic development, “60% to 80% of people with a simple lung infection or a whooping cough died of pneumonia. Penicillin lowered this rate to 1% to 5%” (Pavey). The infection rate was very high before penicillin was introduced, so people were terrified that a simple cough would reproduce and be contagious, so no one wanted to risk the possible development of such. The discovery of penicillin changed how people would interact with others and thus, society became more comfortable socially. Penicillin still today constitutes one of the most important groups of antibiotics available for the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections.

The discovery of penicillin had a colossal impact on the world from a medical, economical and social standpoint. Penicillin is truly one of the greatest discoveries in time and has helped save millions of lives. Works Cited Francis, David R. “Why Do Death Rates Decline? ” Why Do Death Rates Decline? N. p. , 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www. nber. org/digest/mar02/w8556. html>. Pavey, Sarah. “Penicilin. ” AuthorSTREAM. N. p. , n. d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www. authorstream. com/>.

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