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April 7, 1945

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1945;127(14):937-939. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860140055016

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LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)March 7, 1945.

The Uses and Limitations of Penicillin  Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, opened a discussion on its uses and limitations before the Medical Society of London. He stated that an important fact about penicillin was that it was not toxic to leukocytes. Ordinary antiseptics, such as carbolic acid, killed the leukocytes more readily than they killed the bacteria. Penicillin was reputed to be bacteriostatic, but it was being established that it was bactericidal as well. It must be brought into contact with the bacteria to be effective. He said that intravenous administration must be repeated because the kidney excretes penicillin very rapidly. With the standard intravenous dose of 15,000 units, most of the penicillin had disappeared from the blood within an hour. With intramuscular injection it remained for about two hours if 50,000 units was given, for rather more than four

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