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Howard Walter Florey—Production of Penicillin

      While Alexander Fleming is often credited with discovering penicillin in 1928, Howard Walter Florey oversaw initial clinical trials and led the team that first produced large quantities of this antibiotic, which played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II. But the antibacterial activity of penicillin was first discovered decades before Fleming's or Florey's work. Ernest A.C. Duchesne, a young military physician in Lyons, France, discovered penicillin in 1897 during a thesis project investigating antagonism between bacteria and fungi. On the advice of his mentor, Professor Gabriel Roux, Duchesne inoculated guinea pigs with various bacteria and then injected them with either the broth of a Penicillium glaucum culture or saline. Most of the animals injected with the culture broth survived, while those given saline died. Duchesne's thesis was not noticed by the Institut Pasteur, and he entered the French Army and was unable to continue his research.
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