The discovery of penicillin is among the greatest inventions of all time because this antibiotic allows people to effectively treat common infections, including pneumonia, rheumatic fever and gonorrhea. Before the discovery of antibiotics, people frequently died from illnesses that are treated with ease today. For example, doctors often couldn’t help people who got blood poisoning after they cut or scratched themselves.
Antibiotics are powerful compounds that are made of fungi and bacteria able to kill microbes and infection-causing agents. Ancient humans were familiar with this phenomenon and used it to treat various illnesses and healthy troubles. Ancient Egyptians applied moldy bread on infected cuts and wounds to heal them. The moldy bread is packed with fungi and bacteria that effectively kill the species that cause the infection.
However, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 put an end to the need for moldy bread to heal cuts. The power of this first true antibiotic was discovered and harnessed by Alexander Fleming.