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Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin By: Jennifer Anderson

Alexander Fleming discovered enzyme iysozyme as well as the worlds first antibiotic, penicillin. He was born on August 6th, 1881, on a farm near Darvel, in Arshire, Scotland. He went on to attend The Darvel School as well as The Loudoun Moor School. He earned a scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London to attend The Royal Polytechnic Institution. Also, as his first and only medical training, he attended St.Marys Hospital Medical School in Paddington, graduating in 1906. Fleming became a private in the London Scottish Regiment of the Volunteer Force in 1900. He became an assistant bacteriologist to Almoth Wright. Following World War One, Fleming actively searched for anti-bacterial agents, having witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis, a result of infected wounds. His first bacteria-killing attempt killed more soldiers than the disease its self. On September 28, 1928, Fleming discovered penicillin. By this time he was already known as a brilliant researcher, and was studying staphicocci. Before leaving to spend time with family he stacked several cultures on staphicocci on a bench in the corner of his laboratory. Upon his return he noticed that one of the cultures was contaminated with fungi. After a closer examination he realized that he had discovered iysozyme released a substance called penicillin. He noticed that it had a positive anti-bacterial effect on organisms such as gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis, and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, which are caused by gram-negative bacteria. It also affected neisseria gonorrhoeae, although this bacterium is also gram-negative. He finally published his discovery in 1929 in The British Journal of Experimental Pathology. Fleming continued his investigation until he attempted to turn the project over to another scientist in 1940.

Alexander Flemings only child with his first wife, Sarah Fleming, Robert Fleming, became a general medical practitioner. After Sarahs death Fleming married Dr.Amalia Koutsouri-Vourekas, who was his college at St.Marys. Fleming died at his home in London of a heart attack in 1955. He was buried at St.Pauls Cathedral.