An antibiotic (or antibacterial) is something that kills bacteria or slows the growth of bacteria. They are often medicines used to cure diseases. Antibiotics do not harm people. Penicillin is a popular antibiotic. Antibiotics started to be produced in 1939. Antibiotics cannot stop a virus. Antibiotics are not the same thing as antibodies.
Today, people worry that in future bacteria will not be affected by antibiotics, because bacteria might evolve and become too strong. This is called antibiotic resistance. This can happen when antibiotics are used too much. If they are used a lot, some bacteria may get used to them and not be harmed by them. This is when bacteria build up a resistance to the drug e.g. penicilin. These bacteria could then multiply and make a large colony which would not be affected by antibiotics. Therefore rendering the drug useless.
History[change | edit source]
The term antibiotic was first used in 1942 by Selman Waksman and his collaborators in journal articles to describe any substance produced by a microorganism that is antagonistic to the growth of other microorganisms in high dilution. This definition cut out substances which kill bacteria, but are not produced by microorganisms (such as gastric juices and hydrogen peroxide). It also excluded synthetic antibacterial compounds such as the sulfonamides.
Use[change | edit source]
Certain bacteria are only affected by specific types of antibiotics. Patients might need different types or different amounts of antibiotics depending on what bacteria is causing their health problems. Because of this, antibiotics should always be used under the supervision of a medical doctor (or other certified medical practitioner). The doctor can also watch for side effects and change the patient's treatment when necessary. Antibiotics are very useful when your body is infected by a bacteria. Antibiotics don't kill virus, so it is useless against a viral infection. Patients must determine if the infection is of viral or bacterial origin before taking antibiotics, this is another reason why a medical doctor should prescribe antibiotics instead of relying on self-medication.
References[change | edit source]
- Waksman S.A. 1947. What is an antibiotic or an antibiotic substance?. Mycologia 39 (5): 565–569. 
- von Nussbaum F. et al. (2006). "Medicinal Chemistry of Antibacterial Natural Products – Exodus or Revival?". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 45 (31): 5072–5129. doi:10.1002/anie.200600350. PMID 16881035.
Other websites[change | edit source]
- http://tequin.legalview.info/wikipedia/Antibiotic/ Gives a description of the word. (Complex)