Chemistry and Life

Medicinal chemistry. Pharmacology. Toxicology. Environmental sciences.

If you are going to prepare an infographic for the world to see, please get the chemistry right

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Infographic structure (top) and penicillin G (bottom)

Infographic structure (top) and penicillin G (bottom)

As I was writing yesterday’s comments on antibiotics, I referred to a recent World Health Organization report on antibiotic resistance. This report is a major publication intended for a worldwide audience, and it has gotten international media attention.  Accompanying it is a two-page infographic to summarize the important findings of the report.  Illustrating the infographic is the chemical structure of a penicillin.  Or, at least, if it is supposed to a penicillin, the chemical structure is wrong.  It looks like it is intended to be penicillin G (benzylpenicillin).  However, the beta lactam portion is missing an oxygen atom, the two methyl groups on the right side are missing, and the “PhCh2” should be “PhCH2“.

So… a little unsolicited advice for the WHO:  If you are going to prepare an infographic containing a chemical structure for the whole world to see, please have a chemist review it first.  Thank you.

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