Antibiotic loosely translates to "against life." Antibiotics are medications taken when we have bacterial infections (Ellis-Christensen 2010). According to Todar (2008), penicillin was the first antibiotic. "Inhibition of staphylococci on an agar plate contaminated by a Penicillin mold was noticed by Sir Alexander Fleming" (Todar 2008). Bacterial infections during World War Two were treated using penicillin. This was made possible by Ernst Chain and Howard Florey. In 1946, bacterial infections were mostly treated using penicillin (Todar 2008). Penicillin can destroy bacterial pathogens, leaving the host unharmed. New antibiotics were introduced in late 1940s and early 1950s. The age of antibiotic chemotherapy came into full being. Different opinions were given on the usage of antibiotics. Many consider them useful while equally many people consider them too dangerous to be used.
According to Yury Bayarski (2006), the type of infection and the kind of antibiotics most effective for that infection will determine the type of antibiotics one should take. The main classes of antibiotics are aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, penicilins and tetracyclines. Microbial functions and structures that are dissimilar from the host are aimed by antibiotics. To avoid further infection of the host, antibiotics aim to disrupt normal cellular functions of bacteria and fungi. Cell wall biosynthesis, membrane function, DNA replication, DNA transcription, and RNA translation or protein synthesis are some of the normal cellular functions. Throwing sticks in the spokes of infectious agents' cellular wheels are done by antibiotics to stop the infection (Liu 1999). The cell wall and membrane are two main areas of attack. Antibiotics will try to stop cell wall expansion. This is because the cell wall of a bacterium is always expanding. To grow, reproduce, and spread, the cell wall must be able to expand with the growing interior (Liu 1999). Antibiotics cause cells to undergo autolysis when they inhibit cell wall synthesis. The cell wall can no longer accommodate the expanding interior and will explode. However, cell walls are not part of fungi structure. So the cell membrane is aimed by antibiotic like amphotericin B to suppress the membrane functions like selective transport. Sterols in the cell membrane become the binding site for amphotericin B. This leads to degradation of membrane integrity and cell lysis. An important living cell function is DNA replication. DNA must be copied as a cell carries out its usual functions. Replicating the DNA must be done by pathogens for the infectious disease to multiply and spread. Unzipping and binding with complementary nucleotides on leading and lagging strands require several enzymes (Liu 1999). "Most inhibitors of DNA replication bind to DNA and are too toxic for clinical use, according to Moselio Schaechtar, author of Mechanisms of Microbial Disease." (Liu 1999). DNA synthesis is affected by several antibiotics. Nitro groups that add products to DNA are partly reduced by the antibiotics, making it fragile and prone to strand breakage (Liu 1999). Enzymes essential for DNA synthesis are bound by specific antibiotics. There are also antibiotics that inhibit protein synthesis. During RNA translation, mRNA code is read by bacterial ribosomes and tRNA which holds anti-codons are brought in by bacterial ribosomes. Huge and tiny subunits of bacterial ribosomes are aimed by protein synthesis-inhibiting antibiotics. Transcription initiation factors or enzymes such as RNA polymerase might also be bound by the antibiotics (Liu 1999). If antibiotics do not have selective binding, they might bind to all RNA polymerase. Cells would not be able to produce proteins. Only prokaryotic ribosomes must be the aim of the antibiotics, not ribosomes of the host. However, antibacterial agents do not kill all the bacteria. They leave a few of the bacteria that are resistant (Liu 1999). The boost in nutrients nourishes the bacteria, letting them grow. Resistant strains are left behind during over-prescription because only feeble bacteria are killed. Mechanisms to retaliate against antibiotics are developed by the bacteria targeted by the antibiotics. Existing genes are mutated or new genes are acquired by the bacteria, making it antibiotic-resistant (Liu 1999). The drugs are not just received by the bacteria, making the bacteria die when the antibiotics are administered. They will produce enzymes that bind to the antibiotics as resistant. These bacterial enzymes can alter the antibiotics to inactivate functions (Liu 1999).
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The antibiotic Penicillin was able to save a lot of lives during the Second World War.
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It cannot be denied that most of us are alive because an antibiotic conquered an infection (Todar 2008). According to CAP (1995), antibiotics are safe as long as we take it as instructed by doctors. The full course of antibiotics should be completed to avoid the bacteria becoming resistant. The antibiotics should not be taken with dairy products as these products inhibit absorption.
According to Wilson (2009), antibiotics do not eliminate the infectious diseases by themselves. The use of antibiotics results in antibiotic-resistant diseases, which are much more difficult to treat. The MRSA bacterium, which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aurues, is an example of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics contribute to cancer. According to Wilson (2009), a 2008 study showed that a 27% increase in cancer is the result of taking 2-5 antibiotic prescriptions for the past two years. A 37% boost in cancers is the result of those who took six or more prescriptions for the past two years. Antibiotics are also responsible for the destruction of bowel flora. It kills good bugs along with the bad ones (Wilson 2009). Digestion of food is aided, certain vitamins are produced and equilibrium of organisms that prevent harmful bacteria and yeast from multiplying is maintained by specific bugs in the fragile ecology of the human intestine (Wilson 2009). The usual ecology of the intestine is disturbed by the side-spectrum antibiotics (Wilson 2009). Infection of parasites, vitamins insufficiency, loss of minerals through diarrhea, gut inflammation, and food allergies are developed due to defects in intestinal function.
Antibiotics are too dangerous to be used. Healthier and safer alternatives should be used to replace antibiotics. In a very serious case, antibiotics should only be used as a last resort.