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Pack of Miraxid Paediatric Suspension, United Kingdom, 1980-1986

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Introduced in 1987 by the Danish drug company Leo Pharma and sold under the trade name Miraxid, this is an example of an antibiotic treatment made from a combination of two types of penicillins. Used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, this packaging indicates the dosage for children. The label declares “When Fleming discovered penicillin many things that seemed impossible are now a reality”. Drug development is equated here with the emergence of space travel. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) had first identified penicillin in 1928, but it was not until the 1940s that its full potential was realised. It was then soon discovered that a whole family of chemically related penicillin-like drugs existed, each with its own effect on bacteria. This one contains an ingredient, ‘mecillinam’, which was first described in 1972, three years after the first landings on the Moon, and more than a generation after Fleming’s discovery.

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Glossary: penicillin

The first antibiotic drug to treat infections which is made from the mould penicillium. Its discovery is attributed to Alexander Fleming in 1928.

Glossary: antibiotic

A substance that is used to treat infections.

Glossary: box - container

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