The Importance Of Antibiotics

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Antibiotics are a class of drugs used for the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections in humans and animals. These antimicrobial drugs perform their function by either killing pathogens or inhibiting the growth of pathogenic cells. Discovered in the 1920s by Scottish Biologist, Alexander Fleming, antibiotics were first considered “miracle” drugs—they were the first “go-to” option when it came to treating infections in patients; and in fact, they still are. The first antibiotic discovered by Sir Fleming was penicillin [from the fungus Penicillin notatum] and it was used to treat infections such as syphilis, gangrene, and tuberculosis.
Antibiotics are useless for infections caused by viral or fungal pathogens and should not be prescribed
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Bacteria have evolved to demonstrate methods in which they are able to combat the effects of antibiotic treatment. Sources state the “overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of anti-biotic resistant bacteria” (7). However, how exactly do bacterial strains evolve and make resistance possible? Researches have described at least seven mechanisms of resistance studied in resistant cells: 1.) Resistant cells are able to produce enzyme(s) that destroy or deactivate the drug. This is the most common mode of resistance and we see this type of resistance by beta (β) lactamases. These enzymes break the beta-lactam rigs of penicillin, rendering it inactive. 2.) Resistant cells are able to slowly prevent the entry of the drug into a cell. This mechanism is characterized by a change in the structure or electrical charge of the cytoplasmic membranes that constitute channels and pores. Resistance against tetracycline and penicillin are known to occur by this type of mechanism. 3.) Resistant cells alter the targets of antimicrobial drugs so that the drug cannot bind efficiently to the cell. This mode of resistance is commonly seen against sulfonamides and against drugs that thwart protein translation (such as erythromycin). 4.) Resistant cells may alter their metabolic chemistry. For example, cells become resistant to sulfonamides by abandoning the synthesis of folic…show more content…
Multidrug resistant strains such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Plasmodium pose unique problems in the health field and caregivers must treat the infected patients without effective antimicrobials. Through intensive research, studies have shown that cells are able to genetically acquire resistance in two ways: through mutations of chromosomal genes and by acquiring resistance genes or chromosomal pieces of DNA called plasmids in a process called horizontal gene transfer. Literature reports, “Bacteria can carry genes that allow them to survive exposure to the antibiotic we currently have. This means that infections caused by these bacteria are harder to treat, although they are not more severe or infectious. What is concerning is that the gene that carries they antibiotic resistance can be passed between bacteria, allowing for the creation of bacteria that carry resistance to many antibiotics, a superbug”. It is evident how the effects of antibiotic resistance lead to multi-drug resistance strains of bacteria and how this has posed an interesting twist on medicine and society. Soon enough, physicians will face difficulties with how to treat patients who have been affected by
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