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In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered the mould Penicillum notatum,1 setting the stage for the development of an entirely new syphilis cure. Initial problems with cultivation and isolation waylaid the research until it was taken on by the Oxford team of Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain.2 The first patient was treated in 1943 and within 12 months over 10 000 early syphilis patients had been treated.3
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