The Importance Of Antibiotic Resistance

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Resistance is a term used quite regularly today; there's resistance in arrests, resistance to do some good, and resistance to not let go. Resistance is fighting back and overcoming a barrier. However, the word is rarely used by the average person to talk about something that we cannot see, to maybe explain that nasty cough that won't go away, the infection that just keeps coming back, or the reason about 26,000 people die a year in the EU alone (ECDC & EMEA, 2009). This is antibiotic resistance - the battle going on within bodies to stop antibiotics working. This resistance is at the doorstep of every home because of those two days missed off a prescribed antibiotic course as the patient is ‘feeling so much better’, or the extra…show more content…
Antibiotics are usually purified from fungi, or more recently, chemically synthesised by putting different classes which have already been identified together and hoping they work.
Penicillin is an example of a β-lactam antibiotic, which are broad spectrum antibiotics with one thing in common: the β-lactam ring in their chemical structure (see Figure 1). Within this group are many classes of antibiotic, such as penicillin derived compounds, carbapenems, cephalosporins, and monobactams (Holten & Onusko, 2000). This type of antibiotic is bactericidal, and stops bacterium from producing the peptidoglycan layer in their cell wall (see Figure 2), therefore when this cell wall is lost it creates a spheroplast; the bacterium can be mis-shapen, or even burst by changes in osmotic pressure (Hartsock, 2016). Bacteria use DD-transpeptidase to bind the peptide side chains of peptidoglycan strands together; therefore, the antibiotic used binds to the enzyme’s catalytic site, meaning that the cell wall cannot be synthesised. This works because the enzyme can be found from the periplasm and is unlike anything within human cells. This binding is irreversible and is very stable, and is responsible for the enzyme also being known as penicillin-binding protein (PBP) (Spratt & Cromie, 1988). Within the β-lactam group, antibiotics are classified with their core ring structure; some
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