The miracle drug came from, all of places, mold. Mold was known from even Greek times to have medicinal properties – the afflicted were often told to eat bread with mold to get better. Scottish scientists Alexander Fleming isolated the substance penicillum from mold in 1897 and began experiments on it. In 1920 he noticed the mold had inhibited bacterial growth beyond its borders, and that was the inspiration needed to create penicillin.
On this day, March 14, in 1942, the Penicillin drug passed its first field test, curing a near-death patient in a hospital.
Mrs. Ann Miller was suffering from a streptococcal infection in a New Haven, Connecticut hospital. Doctors tried everything, including blood transfusions and surgery, but her fever spiked to 107 and she was delirious. She was administered a dose of penicillin, and just days after dramatically improved, to the point where she regained her appetite.