Medical Events Leading up to the Discovery of Penicillin

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    Germ Theory of Disease is Proven

  • Germ Theory of Disease

    Throughout the 1870s, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), a French chemist and microbiologist, put forth the concept of Germ Theory of Disease; that diseases were caused by microorganisms. This led to the search for "The Magic Bullet", or something that could kill the disease-causing organisms without harming the person that the organism was infecting. Pasteur's theory made it possible to isolate and treat specific diseases.
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    Cholera, Anthrax, and Rabies Vaccines Developed

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    Antiseptic Surgery Developed

  • Cholera, Anthrax, and Rabies Vaccines Developed

    The first cholera, anthrax, and rabies vaccines were developed from 1879 to 1882, greatly influenced by Louis Pasteur.
  • Antiseptic Surgery Developed

    Throughtout the 1880s, Joseph Lister (1827-1912), a British surgeon and a pioneer of antiseptic surgery, experimented with chemical means of preventing infection and achieved his first successful results with carbolic acid (phenol). Antiseptic surgery significantly decreased surgical morbidity.
  • Antitoxins Discovered

    Emil von Behring discovers antitoxins and uses them to develop tetanus and diphtheria vaccines in 1890.
  • X-rays Discovered

    German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovers X-rays in 1895.
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    Typhoid Fever and Plague Vaccines Developed

  • Typhoid Fever and Plague Vaccines Developed

    The first vaccines for typhoid fever and plague are developed from 1896-1897.
  • Aspirin Synthesized

    Felix Hoffman synthesizes aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid); developing what is now one of the most widely used medicines in the world in 1899.
  • First Human Blood Transfusion using ABO Technique

    In 1907 occurred the first successful human blood transfusion using Karl Landsteiner's ABO blood typing technique, which classifies the bloods of human beings into A, B, AB, and O groups.
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    Vaccines Developed

  • More Vaccines Developed

    The first vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough, tuberculosis, and tetanus were developed from 1923 to 1927.
  • Penicillin Discovered!

    In September of 1928, Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered penicillium mold infecting a dish with staphylococcus bacteria. Penicillin would eventually be considered by many to be “The Magic Bullet”, treating bacteria-caused diseases.