Did you know that penicillin is really a kind of mold?  It is a mold that is an antibiotic, or bacteria killer which destroys the bacteria that causes illnesses like pneumonia.  Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in a laboratory in 1928.  It really happened quite by accident.

  Fleming had served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War I.  As a doctor he fought to treat the terribly infected wounds of soldiers with antiseptics (medicines that stop infection).  However while the antiseptics killed bacteria, they also destroyed white blood cells.  White blood cells are needed to fight off disease.

  After the war, while working in a laboratory Fleming discovered mold growing on a shallow specimen dish he had been working with.  The mold was stopping the growth of bacteria!

  In 1939, two doctors from Britain were able to use pure penicillin to treat laboratory mice.  By the year 1943 American and English factories were producing penicillin.  Diseases like scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and pneumonia were now being cured and even prevented thanks to Alexander Fleming.


Answer the questions below.


Penicillin is a kind of .


An antiseptic is a medicine that stops .


blood cells fight off disease.


Another name for a bacteria killer is an .


Many diseases were cured and because of the discovery of penicillin.


American and factories began producing penicillin in 1943.


In 1939, two doctors from used penicillin on laboratory mice.

Fleming worked as a  in World War I.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while working in a .
Penicillin was discovered in the year .



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