A Brief History of Antibiotics, Antibiotic Resistance, and Antibiotic Alternatives

2636 Words Sep 26th, 2010 11 Pages
A Brief History of Antibiotics, Antibiotic Resistance, and Antibiotic Alternatives
Antibiotic Resistance and Alternatives
Antibiotics have been commonly, though mistakenly, thought of as the ultimate cure, for almost all illness, for over half a century now. However, the intended use of antibiotics is for the treatment of bacterial infections and diseases. Viruses or fungi-related illnesses will not be affected by antibiotics. This misunderstanding of the use of antibiotics has led to overuse, or the misuse, of antibiotics, in a wide range of countries worldwide. As a result of overuse, misuse, and abuse, antibiotics, once hailed as the savior of mankind, are an increasing threat as bacteria grow ever stronger. (Bunyard) The
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(Bunyard) Critical innovations in the successful treatment of burn victims were giving blood plasma, combined with administering antibiotics to control streptococcal blood infections, but it was the extraordinary results obtained with the liquid produced by cultures of the penicillium mold that really caught the imagination. (Bunyard) As it happened, at the instigation of Dr. Henry Florey and Dr. Ernst Chain, the Merck pharmaceutical plant in New Jersey, had only just began manufacturing penicillin, and on the day following the fire, the company rushed 32 liters of the antibiotic liquor to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. (Bunyard) The high mortality of infections due to wounds sustained in battle (gangrene) and the burgeoning problem of gonorrhea and syphilis in World War II veterans also enhanced interest in the curative powers of penicillin. (Ed. Bonomo and Ed. Tolmasky)
As a result of his continuing experiments with the antibiotic, Fleming discovered that by growing Staphylococcus aureus in increasing concentrations of penicillin, he could select mutated bacteria with cell walls that would keep out the antibiotic, therefore prevent its killing them. Fleming stressed the importance of patients receiving a full course of treatment, so as to minimize the opportunity for the bacteria to develop resistance. He was also perceptive enough to foresee the dangers of penicillin becoming available in an oral form such that anyone could take

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