advertisement
17 November 2009

When were antibiotics first used?

The concept of using chemicals to kill bacteria (and thus treat infections) has been around for centuries.

0

The concept of using chemicals to kill bacteria (and thus treat infections) has been around for centuries.

Malaria was treated with the bark of the cinchona tree (the precursor to quinine), and syphilis was treated with various heavy metals such as mercury and bismuth.

The first of the “modern day” antibiotics were sulphur containing compounds – the first sulphur containing drug, prontosil rubrum, was used to treat human infection in 1935.

Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming, when he noticed that some bacteria that he was cultivating would not grown if a certain fungus was nearby.

This fungus was called Penicillium, and the substance elaborated by the fungus was the precursor to penicillin.

However, it was not until 1940 that penicillin was purified, and used as an antibiotic. Its availability in the latter stages of World War II saved the lives of numerous soldiers.

 
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Safety first »

Those training for Cycle Tour at risk of flu How to cycle Support the Cycle Tour in style

Safety tips for cyclists

The number of cycling injuries are on the increase. Here's more about wearing proper safety equipment.

Hit the road »

Advice for the long runner Hill training: how to do it Why running is good for you

What to wear when you run

You do not need a gym membership to run. All you need is the correct clothing and you're ready to reap the benefits.