One of the greatest pharmaceutical discoveries happened by accident. In his haste to go on vacation, Alexander Fleming had left his laboratory in a mess. The essence of his ongoing work involved a type of bacteria. An infection caused by the bacteria was often terminal, and he was looking for a remedy. He had left the bacteria out while he was away.
When he returned from vacation, he found that his lab was covered in fungus. He started cleaning up the mess. While he was cleaning, he had an impulse to examine the fungus. He saw that whenever the fungus was in close proximity to the bacteria, the bacteria died.
Though he was a messy scientist, his experiments were precise. He thought that there might be some significance to the fungus. He immediately commenced an experiment to assess what had happened to the bacteria. It had either died by accident or the fungus had killed it. The subsequent tests proved it was the latter reason.
What he found astonished him. The fungus actually killed the bad bacteria. All this time, he had been looking for a synthetic material to kill the bacteria. Instead, a common fungus did the job.
He knew that something in the fungus had killed the bacteria. His next step was to find those molecules that had done it. When he found them, he extracted them and put them into a pill. The drug proved to be very effective. It also worked against other types of harmful bacteria.
The discovery received a lot of publicity. Soon after, the new drug was being used all over the world. Because of the success, the scientist was able to develop even more fabulous drugs to help people. His accidental discovery changed the world and helped save many people’s lives.