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PENICILLIN – A MEDICAL REVOLUTION

Once celebrated as a life saver, penicillin today is alarming researchers all over the world. A fascinating film about the history and current status of antibiotics.

Ninety years ago, in the summer of 1928, Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident. It took another two decades and a world war for him and others to succeed in producing the antibiotic in such large quantities that the epidemics of that time – typhus, syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis – could be eradicated. But Fleming already suspected that one day a downside to his medical triumph would emerge. While the discovery of penicillin was celebrated at the time as a revolutionary new „life saver“, scientists and politicians around the world today are in a state of alarm. It is estimated that over 70 percent of aggressive germs are already resistant to the alleged wonder drug penicillin. The consequence of overuse. Fleming already warned of this in his Nobel Prize speech in 1945, but by then it was already too late. Penicillin was used on a large scale for the first time during the Allied offensive against Nazi Germany in 1944. After the war, the drug was then offered over pharmacy counters in the US in the form of chewing gum to treat sore throats. Can we stop the trend today? A fascinating film about the history and current state of antibiotics.

Science / History
Length 52’ HD
Film by Wilfried Hauke
Co-production dm film und tv produktion with ZDF/ARTE
Original Title Die Penizillin-Story / La pénicilline – Une révolution de la médecine