Wednesday, 24 May 2017


You just got home after a long and tiring day at work. You kick off your shoes, sit on your comfy cushioned chair and turn on the television to your favourite programs. Just as you think all is right in the world, you noticed a putrid smell in the air. *Click* Suddenly you remembered that you forgot to leave the food in the fridge and now it has become this mouldy sour smelling abomination. 

Sir Alexander Fleming, 1951.
Alfred Eisenstaedt-Time &Life Picture/Getty Images

Obviously, most people would have chucked it out in no time, but if Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming decided to just throw one of his experiments gone wrong: humanity wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of his life-saving penicillin: the world’s first anti-bacterial. Diseases such as pneumonia, gonorrhoea and food poisoning cases would run rampant and the death toll would definitely increase with the prospect of humanity’s future ever grim.

But what if I told you that this disaster was prevented or at the very least reduced because of pure human error? Fleming was studying a way to overcome Staphylococcus, the bacteria that causes such nasty diseases.

           Science Photos/ Shutterstock

During his vacation from his duties as a bacteriologist at St. Mary’s hospital, he had returned to his dusty old laboratory when he noticed how there were mould spots covering his staphylococcus petri dish that he accidentally left open. In a fit of pure curiosity, he had put the dish under a microscope and that’s when he made a miraculous discovery: the mould spots had no traces of the deadly bacteria. 

This mould was called penicillin chrysogenum and it revolutionised medicine. 14 years later, in March 1942; Anne Miller became the first successfully cured patient thanks to penicillin which is still saving lives even today. Who said nothing good ever comes out of accidents?

Shared by David Mok
Guest Blogger