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To the Editor:—
It is not too early to take considerable care in recounting the history of the development of penicillin. The remarkably rapid increase of professional as well as public interest in this potent but nontoxic bactericide dictates such caution. The full story of its rediscovery by Florey, Chain and their co-workers nine years after its original discovery by Fleming in 1929 has not yet been fully recorded. This is probably largely because Professor Florey has not wanted to detract from the honor due Prof. Alexander Fleming, its original discoverer, who is still living and still a brilliant observer. This is only just, but the lack of a full account of its rediscovery can lead to mistaken notions. Thus Herrell writes in The Journal, March 4, "Following the isolation of an antibacterial agent, gramicidin, from Bacillus brevis by Dubos in 1939, a reinvestigation of substances of biologic origin was
Falk LA. THE HISTORY OF PENICILLIN. JAMA. 1944;124(17):1219. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850170055018