The first time that a physician treated a patient with penicillin occurred on this date in 1929. Bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming, who had discovered the antibiotic a year earlier, made a broth of the penicillin mold and used it to bathe the infected sinuses of his lab assistant. In 1928, Fleming studied how influenza bacteria could be curbed. Leaving on vacation, he left the bacteria in an open Petri dish. Upon his return, he noticed that a hoary, bluish circle of mold was growing inside the influenza bacteria. Fleming examined it and saw no bacteria where the mold flourished. He tested the mold, which he named penicillin, on laboratory animals, and published a study in 1929 stating that penicillin, a mold often found in soil, could eradicate microbes while leaving healthy tissue intact. Later, Ernst Chain and Howard Florey built upon Fleming's discovery to isolate, purify, test and produce mass quantities of the substance.
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