Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alexander Fleming shares 1934 Nobel prize with Whipple, Minot and Murphy !

Waaaaaait a minute !!

Fleming didn't share the Nobel prize (for discovering penicillin) for  another dozen years.

True --- but he could have got the prize a lot earlier and saved a whole lot of millions of lives in the process , if he had only been a little bit bolder.

For almost 40 years, sufferers from invariably fatal (but fortunately relative rare) disease pernicious anemia had been kept alive by a natural substance: liver.

Over time, the amount of natural- raw - liver they had to eat every day fortunately got smaller and smaller and the scientists edged ever closer to defining exactly which little compound it was in liver that kept them alive.

(Vitamin B12).

That happened 28 years after Whipple's initial discovery and about 10 years later after that, it became available as a partially synthesized product.

These three didn't 'wait for the chemists to purify and then synthesize my discovery' before using it to save lives, to use Fleming's words about his discovery.

They richly deserve their Nobel prize.

But if Fleming had only done what Duhig did in 1943 in Brisbane ;  ie inject Fleming's 1928 penicillin juice into dying patients, he too might have gotten a Nobel Prize soon after his discovery.

After all, he had stated publicly that his juice, un-touched by chemists' hands - killed deadly bacteria and was harmless to animal or human bodies.

If Fleming had but tested his penicillin juice's possible systemic effects therapeutic effects on even a single mouse, the life saving might have begun in 1928 not in 1943.....

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