We’re living longer thanks to medical science as it has been developing over the millennium. In ancient times, mankind was helpless in the face of illness and injury, especially in the case of epidemics. The Plague or Black Death of 14th Century Europe wiped out one third of the population, while Spanish influenza in 1918 claimed approximately 50 million lives, more than lost in World War I.
It was not until the twentieth Century that we have seen major progress in the way man battles disease. Two major discoveries helped usher in these changes – penicillin and corticosteroids. Alexander Fleming observed that a plate with nutrients covered with bacteria set aside and forgotten for several weeks had developed a mold growth that destroyed the bacteria. This phenomenon worthy of further investigation, lead to the discovery of antibiotics isolated from molds in1940.