Brief History of Antibiotics
Humans developed antimicrobials to destroy disease-causing microbes. The most commonly known antimicrobials are antibiotics, which target bacteria. Other forms of antimicrobials are antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics.
Penicillin, the first commercialized antibiotic, was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. While it wasn’t distributed among the general public until 1945, it was widely used in World War II for surgical and wound infections among the Allied Forces. It was hailed as a “miracle drug” and a future free of infectious diseases was considered. When Fleming won the Nobel Prize for his discovery, he warned of bacteria becoming resistant to penicillin in his acceptance speech.