Antibiotic Resistance : Where We Are

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Antibiotic Resistance: Where we are and what we need to do
Oluwatosin Fofah
Antibiotics are inarguably one of the greatest advances in medical science of the past century. Although the first natural antibiotic Penicillin was not discovered until 1928 by Scottish biologist Alexander Flemming, evidence exists that certain plant and mold growths were used to treat infections in ancient Egypt, ancient India, and classical Greece (Forrest, 1982). In our modern world with the advent of synthetic chemistry synthetic antibiotics like Erithromycin and its derivative Azithromycin have been developed. Antibiotics have many uses including the treatment of bacterial and protozoan infection, in surgical operations and prophylactically to prevent the development of an infection. Through these applications, antibiotics have saved countless lives across the world and radically altered the field of medicine. Though a wonderful and potentially lifesaving tool, antibiotic use is not without its disadvantages. Mankind has perhaps been too lax in regulation and too liberal in application of antibiotics and growing antibiotic resistance is the price we must now pay. A recent study showed that perhaps 70% of bacterial infections acquired during hospital visits in the United States are resistant to at least one class of antibiotic (Leeb, 2004). Bacteria are not helpless and their genetic capabilities have allowed them to take advantage of society’s overuse of antibiotics, allowing them to develop
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