By K.R. Srinivasan (author), G.R. Naik (illustrator)
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Extra resources for Miracles in Medicine: Stories of the Great Discoveries that Changed Mankind
He filtered off these cultures and collected the liquid containing the substance that could kill bacteria. He then t e s t e d this liquid against the various d i s e a s e producing bacteria. He soon found that the mould-substance could kill bacteria of pneumonia, diphtheria and a score of other d i s e a s e s . His next discovery was even more remarkable. The substance could still kill the germs even when it was diluted with 800 parts of water! He next tested the substance on white blood c e l l s and found that it did no" harm to them.
The university gave him a laboratory for eight weeks, one a s s i s t a n t , ten dogs and money equivalent to about five hundred rupees. Nowadays such meagre help would not persuade any good scientist to undertake any important scientific pursuit. But in 1921 Banting regarded himself lucky to get it. What is diabetes? Sugar i s the most important source of energy for the human body, and the sugar is converted into energy by a gland called the pancreas. To do this the gland produces a substance called insulin.
At this stage the Oxford team of s c i e n t i s t s moved over to America at the invitation of that country. They continued their work there in a modern laboratory which had all the facilities they could ask for. Their sole aim now was to find the particular variety of the mould that would grow very rapidly and produce big quantities of penicillin. In Nature different strains of the mould exist and some of them can multiply themselves very quickly and yield the drug in large amounts. They looked in every place for this strain.
Miracles in Medicine: Stories of the Great Discoveries that Changed Mankind by K.R. Srinivasan (author), G.R. Naik (illustrator)