Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (3): 282-286.doi: 10.24920/004084

• Historical Traces of Medicine • Previous Articles    

Zhang Weishen: A Pioneer in the Development and Industrial Production of Penicillin in New China

Bin Yu, Fumin Huang, Guoxing Tang, Jing Liu*()   

  1. Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100730, China
  • Received:2022-03-17 Accepted:2022-07-12 Published:2022-09-30 Online:2022-09-22
  • Contact: Jing Liu

The research and development of penicillin started with difficulty before 1949 and achieved certain results. In 1951, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Weishen, as the only Chinese scientist who had been trained and worked in a penicillin research and development center in the United States for many years, overcame many difficulties and returned to China. In 1953, with the efforts of Zhang Weishen and his colleagues, China realized the industrialized production of penicillin, alleviating the urgent needs of the masses. Antibiotics has also become the first discipline to achieve major scientific and technological achievements after the founding of the New China. In the mid-1950s, the technical breakthrough in the localization of lactose substitutes marked the localization of the raw materials of the penicillin-producing culture medium, which paved the way for the industrialized production of penicillin with Chinese characteristics. Antibiotics have become one of the most widely used and affordable drugs for hundreds of millions of patients in China, and China has since ended the humiliating history of the “Sick Man of East Asia”.

Key words: penicillin, antibiotics, research and development, industrial production, Zhang Weishen


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