Penicillin Holds Medical Promise
BALTIMORE, Md.—Infection has long been one of the biggest scourges of the battlefield due to open wounds and the unclean nature of combat. Penicillin is proving to be one of the most powerful antiseptics against disease-causing bacteria. In addition to being extremely low in toxicity, it can be introduced into the bloodstream during treatment. The antiseptic is created from a brush-shaped mold that is grown in the laboratory. The challenge is growing enough of the mold to enable large-scale production of the medicine. A crystalline form of penicillin has been created by Dr. Karl Meyer and Dr. Gladys Hobby at Columbia University that overcomes a stability problem with other forms, but quantity remains an issue. The quest is on to find a mold that can be used as a basis for creating a synthetic penicillin. This would allow the medicine to be mass produced and distributed not only to the armed forces for battlefield use, but for civilian use as well.