What is Penicillin?
- The name ‘penicillin’ describes a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi.
- The different types of penicillin are: penicillin G, penicillin V, procaine penicillin and benzathine penicillin.
- Simplistically put, penicillin prevents bacteria from growing and dividing by causing them to shed their cells walls.
What is Penicillin Used For?
- Even though there exist many forms of penicillin-resistant bacteria, penicillin is still used to treat a massive range of infections caused by bacteria.
- Penicillin G, usually injected into the patient, is used to treat syphilis, meningitis, pneumonia and septicaemia.
- Penicillin V (or Phenoxymethylpenicillin), usually taken orally, is used to treat tonsillitis, pharyngitis, skin infections, spleen disorders, some cases of anthrax, early stage Lyme disease, and rheumatic fever.
- Penicillin does have some side effects. Many patients will experience diarrhoea, nausea, rashes or hypersensitivity after taking penicillin.
Who Discovered Penicillin?
- Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident. He noticed that is Penicillium rubens is allowed to grow in an appropriate substrate it produces an antibiotic substance.
- Howard Walter Florey, Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley all contributed to building on Fleming’s discovery and developing penicillin for medical purposes.
- Dorothy Hodgkin determined penicillin’s chemical structure.