Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.
Alexander Fleming, holding a petri dish.
In 1928, Alexander Fleming had discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin, but it took over a decade before penicillin was introduced as a treatment for bacterial infections. This was possible through the work of Florey and Chain who managed to efficiently purify the antibiotic and scale-up production. The introduction of penicillin marked the beginning of the so-called “golden era” of antibiotics. Between 1940 and 1962, most of the antibiotic classes we use as medicines today were discovered and introduced to the market.
Today, there are very few novel antibiotics under development. At the same time antibiotic resistant bacteria that survives antibiotic treatment are becoming more and more prevalent, making available antibiotics ineffective. Thus, we are inevitably facing a major health problem.