Medicine: In Defense of Penicillin

Both Sir Alexander Fleming and the penicillin he discovered have recently come in for some unkind words. In Britain, critics complain that Fleming got a bigger share than he deserved of the credit for penicillin—that more should have gone to Sir Howard Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain, who first took it out of the lab and put it into a patient. In the U.S., doctors say that strains of bacteria resistant to penicillin are emerging everywhere, and that these may breed diseases from which penicillin can give no relief.

In Manhattan last week, honeymooning with his 40-year-old Greek bride, 71-year-old Sir Alexander...

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