Antibiotics by vickey32

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									Short Essay on Antibiotics
The invention of antibiotics has proved to be a boon a boon to society. The credit of invention
goes to Sir Alexander Fleming whose careful observations in 1928 resulted in the invention of
antibiotics. Antibiotics are chemical substances produced by various species of micro-organisms
and other living systems, which are capable in small concentrations of inhibiting the growth of or
killing bacteria and other micro-organisms. These organisms can be bacteria, viruses, fungi, or
animals called protozoa.

A particular group of these agents is made up of d\rugs called antibiotics, from the Greek word
anti (“against”) and (“life”). Some antibiotics are produced from living organisms such as
bacteria, fungi, and molds. Others are wholly or in part synthetic—that is, produced artificially.
Penicillin is one of the best-known antibiotics. Its discovery and later development is among
mankind’s greatest achievements.

Invention of antibiotics has enabled the medical profession to treat many infectious diseases
effectively, including some that were once life threatening. Antibiotics can be bacteriostatic
(bacteria stopped from multiplying) or bactericidal (bacteria killed). It is believed that antibiotics
interfere with the surface of bacteria cells, causing a change in their ability to reproduce. To
work against infecting organisms, an antibiotic can be applied externally, such as to a cut on the
skin’s surface, or internally, reaching the bloodstream within the body.

Antibiotics comes in several forms and given in different ways. One is topical application, which
means “to a local area” such as on the skin, in the eyes, or on the mucous membrane and are
available in the form of powders, ointments, or creams. The second method is oral in the form of
tablets, liquid, and capsules are swallowed. The antibiotic is released in the small intestine to be
absorbed into the bloodstream. Another method is parental. One form is an injection, which can
be subcutaneous (under the skin), intramuscular (into a muscle), or intravenous (into a vein)

There are many techniques for the production of antibiotics. At one time al antibiotics were made
from living organisms. This process, known as biosynthesis, is still used in the manufacture of
some antibiotics. For example, molds organisms are placed in a medium (a substance used for
the growth of micro-organisms) such as corn steep liquor to which milk sugar has been added.
The mold organisms grow rapidly in this warm soup, producing penicillin as they do so. The
penicillin is later extracted. Researchers have developed antibiotics with long half- lives (period
of effectiveness), which allow taking the medication once in 24 hours instead of every few hours.
The newer antibiotics are also more effective against a wider range of infections than were
earlier drugs.

There are numerous varieties of antibiotics. The following are in common use like Penicillin,
Cephalosporin’s (often given when a sensitivity to the former is known or suspected, in a patient)
Aminoglycosides (used in the treatment of tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and other infections).
Other antibiotics which are commonly used are Tetracycline’s, Macrolides, and Polypeptides
Bacitracin. Another use of antibiotics is as additives to the feed of animals. Chickens and beef
cattle, for example, can be fed with these additives for better weight gains and to speed their
growth.

When one is exposed continually to an antibiotic for an illness of long duration, the targeted
bacteria may develop its own defense against the drug. The bacteria may produce an enzyme that
can destroy the drug, or the cell wall can become resistant to being broken by the action of the
antibiotic. For example, one may be penicillin-fast, meaning penicillin is no longer able to help
fight the infection and another type of antibiotic must be given. Allergic reactions to antibiotics
are usually seen as rashes on the skin, but severe anemia, stomach disorders, and deafness can
occasionally result. It was once thought that allergic reactions to antibiotics—penicillin in
particular – were frequent and permanent.

The numerous antibiotics, which are now available offers a choice of treatment that can, in most
instances, avoid allergy—causing drugs. It is well to remember that all drugs can cause both
wanted and unwanted effects on the body. Current work in antibiotics is largely in the area of
viruses. Although some antiviral are available, most have toxic effects so severe that they can be
used only in life-threatening diseases where the negative effects are the lesser danger.
Preliminary studies, however, are indicative of success in the development of safer antiviral
drugs, and their use will enable us to make the world safe from the contagious diseases.

								
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