David Antony LongBMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6689 (Published 14 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6689
- S Charles Gallannaugh
The death of David Antony Long at the age of 98 severs one of the last direct links with the era that followed the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, an event that was to change the course of medical practice in the 20th century. Long’s long and distinguished career in microbiology and molecular science began shortly after he qualified, with a series of papers on the clinical effects of penicillin in humans.
Long was born on 27 February 1917 in London after his father, who had been a professor of Classics in Dublin, had moved to England. He was educated at Eastbourne College and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where he qualified with honours and distinction in medicine, pharmacology, and therapeutics. He won the Brackenbury scholarship in medicine at St Bartholomew’s and the Mathews Duncan prize and gold medal.
On qualifying he was appointed house physician to the medical unit at St Bartholomew’s, and the following year he became lecturer in bacteriology there. Bart’s had played a major part in evaluating penicillin from the earliest days. Long’s work on the effect of penicillin in the treatment of diphtheria stimulated an early research interest in methods of assaying antigens and antibodies and led to several early papers. Later, at the National Institute for Medical Research, which he joined in 1948, he showed that diphtheria antitoxin as used in humans failed to neutralise toxin injected into …