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January 27, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(4):220-221. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860040030009

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A supplement to the July 1944 issue of the British Journal of Surgery presents a symposium on penicillin in warfare. In a foreword Major Gen. L. T. Poole states that employment of penicillin in the most forward surgical units as a prophylactic against wound sepsis emerges as perhaps the greatest application of the lessons learned. Under battle conditions a long interval must sometimes elapse before definitive surgical measures can be undertaken. Penicillin can be used to bridge this gap and delay, modify or even prevent the development of sepsis. Florey and Jennings point out that the substance is the most powerful antibacterial agent which has yet been brought into clinical use. Pure penicillin is likely to remain for a long time a chemical curiosity, but its antibacterial capacity is well established. It will completely inhibit the growth of the most sensitive organisms, such as the gonococcus and staphylococcus, when diluted

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