At the time most chemical companies were concentrated in war efforts. Because of the need for a considerable amount of penicillin for clinical trials and adequate supplies of the drug for treatment purposes, large scale production was inevitable. This could not be possible in Britain and as a result Florey, his colleague Norman with the help of Rockefeller foundation traveled to the US in 1941 to see if any of the American Pharmaceutical companies could be interested in large scale production of penicillin.
A Yale physiologist helped the crew that came from Britain established a place where they could find people that could assist them in attaining their goal. It is through him that they found Robert Thom a mycologist in the Department of Agriculture who later referred them to the Department’s North Region Research Laboratory. (NRRL) Illinois. NRRL played an important role in the achievements of the project. It made important contributions that led to the production of penicillin in large scale (Moberg and Zanvil, p. 57).
At NRRL laboratories, Orville May who was the director at the time allowed the laboratory to venture into vigorous programs that were aimed at increasing penicillin yields. They decided that Heatley was to stay in Peoria because he was more experienced so that he could share the experience with his American colleagues. Within a span of weeks, Andrew Moyer discovered that penicillin yields could be increased through substitution of lactose with sucrose that was used by the Oxford team. He again discovered that addition of corn-steep liquor to the medium used in fermentation, yielded more penicillin.
Penicillin yield was further increased by the NRRL through inclusion of penicillin precursors in the medium used for fermentation (Kendall, p. 182). The method of using the outside of nutrient medium to grow mold which was originally used in Oxford was found to be insufficient. They resulted to growing them in a submerged culture. In this new method, mold could be grown in big tanks that contained a mixture that was continuously disturbed and aerated. However, this method produced small amounts of penicillin.
This prompted for alternative penicillin strains that could be able to produce substantial amounts of penicillin in submerged culture. This was followed by a global search for better penicillin producing strains that could be able to yield enough penicillin. Soil samples were taken from the world over and were collected at the NRRL laboratories. The most productive strain was found in a moldy cantaloupe that originated from a fruit market. By use of x-rays, they were able to produce a more productive mutant of the cantaloupe strain at Carnegie institution.
Productivity was increases further through exposure of the strain to UV radiation (Moberg and Zanvil, p. 57). While Norman was busy supervising the penicillin work, Florey was busy visiting pharmaceutical companies trying to familiarize them with the drug. Although the trip was disappointing, three companies had already done research on penicillin before he arrived. Florey later visited Alfred Richards Newton a friend of his whom at the moment was the vice president for medical affairs (University of Pennsylvania).
Richards was also the head of the CMR (Committee on Medical Research) in scientific research and development office. The office had the responsibility of ensuring enough attention was given to research about scientific together with medical problems that were in line with national defense. Richard trusted Florey’s judgment on penicillin’s potential and approached the drug firms that had interest in penicillin research and helped convince them that it could be of national interest if they participated in penicillin production.
He also told informed them of the help that they might get from the government if they ventured into the sector. Richard organized a meeting on October 1941 that was used to exchange information and came up with plans to increase penicillin production. Apart from representatives from CMR, National Research Council together with US department of agriculture also participated. Although concerns were raised of a possible waste if a commercially-viable production of penicillin was developed, different companies also became interested in the drug.
They came up with collaborative agreements that could help them in their production. Merck’s plant continued producing several liters of penicillin after which they was joined by Heatley in December for a couple of months. Heatley established a penicillin assay method called Oxford cup method which became a standard method of assay in the whole industry. By March of 1942, enough penicillin could be produced which was used in treatment (Clardy, p. 205). History of penicillin According to Holton, p.
71, Alexander was the first individual to note that penicillium mould had a potential of producing an antibacterial substance that was capable of killing bacteria. He isolated the substance after which he named it penicillin although he was not the first to put its properties into use. Because of the therapeutic value that penicillin was found to have, mass production was a necessity. Different researchers came together to aid in mass production of penicillin some of which include: Norman Heatley, Ernst Chain and also Howard Florey.
Moulds and other plants were already being used in treatment of infections in ancient times. The moulds were able to heal the infections because of the substances that they produced that had an antibiotic effect. However they were unable to identify the active component in the moulds that brought about the effect. Dr. Alexander accidentally discovered penicillin while he was organizing Petri dishes in a sink that he had used to grow bacteria in 1928. He was opening and examining each dish before he could drop it for cleaning in a cleaning mixture.
While in the process, one of the Petri dishes caught his attention. Mould had grown on it but it had infected a staphylococcus culture and inhibited the bacteria from growing killing it. He took a sample of that mould and analyzed it after which he found that it belonged to penicillium family. He called it penicillin. He later discovered that the substance was not toxic and that it could be used in treatment of different types of bacteria that could harm people. He gave the findings to the medical world but few people seemed interested (Holton, p. 71).
Although he worked on the mould for quite some time, specialists in the area of chemists and mold took charge. Research work was sometimes slowed down due to various factors such as relocation or death of researchers which could occasionally occurred. Penicillin research was slowed down until world war two when it again gained momentum. Howard together with Ernst took over the research after which they purified it and made it available for treatment. Penicillin allergic reactions Penicillin allergic reactions are the most common drug allergies that people experience.
This is so because penicillin derivatives are the most preferred antibiotics for treatment of infections caused by bacteria. If by any chance there is a history of penicillin reaction in a patient no matter how small, it is advised that different types of antibiotic should be used for treatment. This is because the immune system has a potential of keeping antibodies against the drug for years and when the same drug is given, a similar or worse reaction could result. Reactions occur when there is an overreaction of the body’s immune system towards penicillin or any other antibiotic related to it (Antunez et al, p.
407). The common signs and symptoms in patients with a penicillin reaction include: swollen lips, tongue or face, hives, rashes and itchy eyes. The most serious one is anaphylactic response which can be fatal. These reactions occur immediately an individual who is allergic to penicillin is exposed to it. This may result to narrowing of airways making it difficult to breath. Blood pressure may also reduce to dangerous levels resulting to unconsciousness. Others may experience a weak pulse rate, lightheadedness, blueness of skin, lips or nail beds, vomiting, slurred speech, nausea and also wheezing.
Penicillin allergic reactions can either be serious or non-serious reactions. Serious allergic reactions occur when one experiences anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a reduction in blood pressure bringing about breathing difficulties, swelling of various parts of the body, experiencing difficulties while swallowing, wheezing or experiencing a short breath. It rarely occurs but can be life threatening if it’s not attended to immediately (Slinn, p. 138). Non-serious reactions occur when one experiences stomach upsets, headaches, indigestion, diarrhea together with facial flashing.
These may be or may not be as a result of allergy. They can be brought about by illness or any other situation that could have concurred with the illness but not a result of penicillin treatment. Other symptoms like vomiting, irritability together with fever may more likely be related to illness than drugs (Antunez et al, p. 407). Penicillin and rash Hives appear as a response to an allergen. They are small bumps that appear within 24 hours of exposure to an allergen. They are usually itchy but disappear after a short time.
More may appear in different parts of the body within a few days of exposure. Mostly hives disappear without any intervention but in case of any irritation benedryl can be administered to ease the discomfort. Hives may come about due to something different other than penicillin. It may be a response to an addictive or flavoring used in the medication. It may also be a reaction to latex gloves used during treatment. Or it can also be due to Histamine reaction to stress brought about by the illness. How to determine if penicillin is the cause of an allergic reaction
It is not easy to settle on a true allergy so it is advised that if an individual suspects to be allergic to penicillin he/she should avoid the drug. One can also avoid using more complex medicine in treatment of a simple infection by bacteria. The physician should ensure that only the best medication is administered and this can be achieved through testing for true allergic reactions. It’s even more problematic when an individual is allergic to penicillin derivatives. A test for allergy can be done in different ways. They include: skin testing, and tolerance intake is done but it should be done under medical supervision.
It is not recommended for antibiotics to be administered for treatment of viral infections they should only be prescribed to cases where there is a bacterial infection. Over using of these drugs can also result in reactions and drug resistance (Kades, p. 613). Factors more likely to bring about severe penicillin reaction One is likely to experience a severe reaction to penicillin if he/she has had the following: A penicillin skin test that tested positive, hives had developed immediately he/she was given penicillin treatment and also an earlier anaphylactic effect to penicillin.
If an individual has had the above experience, it is recommended that a different antibiotic be used in treatment or the individual be subjected to desensitization therapy. Desensitization therapy is done by an individual first taking small amount of penicillin and increasing the amount slowly to determine how much he/she is able to take. This helps the body’s immune system to adapt to the medicine so that it can no longer react with it. Persons who are allergic to penicillin should take antihistamine which help in reducing the itching and calm the rashes (Slinn, p. 138). Conclusion
It’s in America where more important discoveries such as: addition of corn-steep liquor which substantially increased production of penicillin through substitution of lactose was made. Penicillin yield was further increased by adding penicillin precursors into the process. Old processes that had been used in Oxford were replaced by new ones for example the method of growing mold on top of a nutrient medium was found to be inferior to the new method where mold was grown in a submerged culture. In this new method, mold could be grown in big tanks that contained a mixture that was continuously disturbed and aerated.
Although drug reactions occur, not all of them result from penicillin. Tests should be done to determine true reactions so that dangerous situations can be avoided in future. Works Cited Antunez C, Blanca-Lopez N, Torres MJ, et al. “Immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins: evaluation of cross-reactivity with a panel of penicillins and cephalosporins”. J Allergy Clin. Immunol. (2006) 117 (2): 407. Clardy, Jon. “Discovery of New Compounds in Nature1. ” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 151. 2 (2007): 205. Questia. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. Haven, Kendall F.
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