The 1940s

Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and developed into a drug in the early 1940s. Today it is used to treat a broad range of bacterial infections accounting for around 45% of the antibiotics prescribed in the NHS in England.

The randomized controlled trial (RCT) was first used in medical research in 1948 to evaluate streptomycin to treat tuberculosis. The RCT is now considered the gold standard for testing the effectiveness of drugs and other treatments.

In 1949. Sir Nicolas Harold Lloyd Ridley invented and implanted the first Intraocular Lens (IOL) - an artificial lens to replace the eye's natural lens. 406,000 cataract operations are performed each year in England and Wales.