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Penicillin powder in bottle, England, 1942

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Some of the earliest clinical trials of penicillin took place in Oxford, England, in early 1942. At first supplies were very limited. It is believed that this sample was recovered from the urine of patients treated with the antibiotic. Once clinical trials proved successful, penicillin was used for a wide range of infections and stimulated research into other antibiotics.

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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: bottle

    Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

    Glossary: antibiotic

    A substance that is used to treat infections.