logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Low Carb: 8:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Biology Site

BellaOnline's Biology Editor

g

Antibiotics - An Introduction

Guest Author - Deborah Watson-Novacek

The properties of antibiotic substances have been known and used by humans for thousands of years, but it is only in modern history that scientists have been able to discover, observe and refine these agents for their everyday use in curing certain diseases.


WHAT ARE ANTIBIOTICS?
Antibiotics are medications that can cure certain diseases by killing or injuring the bacteria that cause them. The word 'antibiosis' translates to 'against life.' The term was coined by French bacteriologist Vuillemin and first used in 1877 to describe the results of various early antibacterial agents. An American microbiologist named Selman Waksman renamed these agents "antibiotics" in 1942.


HISTORY OF ANTIBIOTICS
The use of medicines with antibiotic properties dates back as much as 2000 years! Ancient texts show that civilizations like the ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew about and used certain molds and plant extracts to treat various infections.

In 1875, English scientist John Tynddall noted antagonistic activities (activities "against life") by fungi against certain bacteria. This discovery helped pave the way for the development of antibacterials and "synthetic" antibiotics. In the late 1880's, Paul Ehrlich developed the hypothesis that it might be possible to create antibacterial chemicals that woul selectively bind to and kill specific bacteria within a human host. This led to the discovery of the synthetic antibacterial called Salvarsan.

The first really well-known modern antibiotic found is the well-known penicillin. This drug was discovered accidentally in 1928 by scientist Alexander Fleming, who observed the antibiosis effect of a mold against various bacteria. He hypothesized that the effects of this fungus, genus Penicillium,could possibly be used as a medical treatment for various bacteria-caused illnesses. In 1932 the first commercial antibiotic - Prontosil - was developed by a research team. The lead scientist on this team, Gerhard Domagk, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1939 for his efforts to help develop this drug.

Also in 1939, the antibiotic gramicidin was derived and it was tested extensively during World War II where it became a proven, effective treament of various battle wounds and skin ulcers.

Although penicillin had been discovered by Fleming in 1928, it was not perfected as a purified antibiotic until the early 1940s. This purified form of the drug was found to be a potent antibacterial agent against a very wide range of harmful bacteria and had few harmful side effects in humans. For their work on the discovery and development of penicillin, the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine was shared by Ernst Chain, Howard Florey, and Alexander Florey.

Since then, medical scientists have diligently worked at finding and perfecting various antibacterial agents which are effective against a wide variety of bacteria-caused disease.


TYPES OF ANTIBIOTICS
There are too many types of antibiotics to list them all here. Of the more than 100 antibiotics in use today, most of them come from the following classes of drugs:

Penicillins - such as penicillin and amoxicillin

Macrolides - such as erythromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), and zithromycin
Sulfonimides - such as trimethoprim and co-trimoxazole (Bactrim)

Cephalosporins - such as cephalexin (Keflex)

Aminoglycosides - such as tentamicin (Garamycin) and tobramycin (Tobrex)

Fluoroquinolones - such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), and ofloxacin (Floxin)

(Note: In the examples listed above, the generic names of the drugs are in lower case, while the better-known "trade names" created by the drug company begin with a capital letter and is in parentheses.)


HOW DO ANTIBIOTICS WORK
Each antibiotic is generally effective for only certain types of bacterial infections, some fungal infections, and certain parasites. Bacterial infections that are candidates for treatment by antibiotics include:

-- Many wound and skin infections
-- Urinary tract infections
-- Strep throat
-- Severe sinus infections
-- Some ear infections


Antibiotics DON'T work against viral infections such as:

-- Colds
-- Influenza
-- Bronchitis
-- Stomach flu
-- Most ear infections
-- Most coughs
-- Most sore throats


To effectively treat a bacterial illness, a doctor must choose an antibiotic that will work to kill the bacteria which is most likely causing the illness. Not all antibiotics work for all bacterial infections!

If you are prescribed an antibiotic when you have a viral infection, the medication will not work to cure your illness and may very well result in your increased resistance to antibiotic medications.

This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Twitter Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Facebook Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to MySpace Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Del.icio.us Digg Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Yahoo My Web Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Google Bookmarks Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Stumbleupon Add Antibiotics+%2D+An+Introduction to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Biology Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Deborah Watson-Novacek. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deborah Watson-Novacek. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Algae Blooms

Species Spotlight - Monarch Butterfly

Recycling

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor