In 1928 a Scottish researcher returned to his lab after a two-week vacation to discover a mold had developed on an accidentally contaminated culture plate. Upon examining and testing the mold, Sir Alexander Fleming went on to receive credit for the discovery of penicillin – the first naturally occurring antibiotic drug. His bacteria killing discovery is now the most widely used antibiotic in the world, responsible for adding 20 years to human life expectancy, saving millions of lives, and changing the course of medicine.

But since penicillin saved the first life in 1942 the development and use of antibiotics has changed radically. And the germs that modern-day antibiotics have been designed to fight, are becoming ever more resistant to the antibiotics. In fact, almost 3 million antibiotic resistant infections occur each year in the U.S. alone, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths.

Credit: CDC

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