Penicillin – The significance of the Breakthrough

The discovery, development and subsequent use of penicillin can be considered to be one of the most important breakthroughs in medical history.

Penicillin prevents a large number of germs from growing. As it is an organic substance it can be used on, or in, the human body. This meant that for the first time something was available that could, potentially, prevent the decay of the body or infection from germs whilst operating.

The immediate impact of the discovery is clear. The drug was developed quickly in the War years by the American government. By developing the drug so readily and so quickly the US Government prevented many soldiers from having war wounds becoming infected: the drug therefore saved a lot of lives and, it could be argued, played a role in helping to win the war for the Allies.