Medicine through time

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Factors affecting the development of drugs and vaccines

A number of factors influenced the changes and developments that occurred in the search for a cure to infectious disease. In brief, these factors were:


The Industrial Revolution provided Scientists with new forms of microscope, dyes that could be used to track and identify germs, laboratories and technical equipment for use in medical experimentation. Industrailisation and mechanization also resulted in the rapid spread of ideas along with a faster rate of production.

Good Luck

Some of the discoveries were down to chance. Fleming, for example, wasn't searching for penicillin when he came across it.


Scientists were becoming very eager to make breakthroughs before their competitors did. An example of this drive to succeed is the repeated clashes between Pasteur and Koch.


Medical advancements were often funded by governments eager to reduce death rates during wars. The development of penicillin is an example of this.

The fight against infectious disease: pages within this unit

What is an Infectious Disease? A Glossary of Infectious Diseases, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, Vaccination, The Development of Drugs, Paul Ehrlich, Gerhard Domagk, Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, The importance of Penicillin, Factors affecting the development of drugs and treatments.

Activities within the Unit

Glossary vocabulary test This activity checks your knowledge of infectious disease
Drag and Drop game Do you know who developed each form of medicine?
Breakthrough against Infectious Disease Use the information in this unit to answer a detailed question, then see how it compares with a suggested response. Ideal revision tool.

Recommended textbooks and revision guides

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