Find the word definition


n. (plural of antibiotic English)


Antibiotics, also called antibacterials, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza, and their inappropriate use allows the emergence of resistant organisms. In 1928, Alexander Fleming identified penicillin, the first chemical compound with antibiotic properties. Fleming was working on a culture of disease-causing bacteria when he noticed the spores of a little green mold ( Penicillium chrysogenum), in one of his culture plates. He observed that the presence of the mold killed or prevented the growth of the bacteria.

Antibiotics revolutionized medicine in the 20th century, and have together with vaccination led to the near eradication of diseases such as tuberculosis in the developed world. Their effectiveness and easy access led to overuse, especially in livestock raising, prompting bacteria to develop resistance. This has led to widespread problems with antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance, so much as to prompt the World Health Organization to classify antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country".

The era of antibacterial treatment began with the discovery of arsphenamine, first synthesized by Alfred Bertheim and Paul Ehrlich in 1907, and used to treat syphilis. The first systemically active antibacterial drug, prontosil was discovered in 1933 by Gerhard Domagk, for which he was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize. All classes of antibiotics in use today were first discovered prior to the mid 1980s.

Sometimes the term antibiotic is used to refer to any substance used against microbes, synonymous with antimicrobial, leading to the widespread but incorrect belief that antibiotics can be used against viruses. Some sources distinguish between antibacterial and antibiotic; antibacterials are used in soaps and cleaners generally and antibiotics are used as medicine.

Usage examples of "antibiotics".

Besides, the fact that some of these particular individuals may have been immunocompromised does not alter the fact that the bacteria infecting them proved resistant to a wide spectrum of antibiotics, possibly all antibiotics.

Low acidity or relatively sterile intestinal lumen as a result of pretreatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics are often factors.

Despite treatment with a broad range of antibiotics, including vancomycin, the infections had proved impossible to check.

That was why abdominal-wound patients were immediately given broad-spectrum antibiotics as a prophylactic.

Ford the failure of antibiotics was a more profound and disturbing threat than that of civil unrest, even if it never got a mention on the radio.

Ignorant of the consequences, many people would continue a course of antibiotics only for as long as their symptoms persisted and not the for the full period needed to kill all the bacteria causing them.

The cost of antibiotics, especially for the poor in developing countries, often made this false economy inevitable.

In spite of this, the use of antibiotics around the world continued to grow.

The weapons developed by certain species of fungus were the basis for the earliest antibiotics, including, of course, penicillin.

Sure, we need new antibiotics urgently, but the way things are going at the moment, the bugs are developing defenses faster than we can develop weapons.

But most of all I want to see much closer control of how and where antibiotics are used.

It was one of the most successful bugs in the microbial war against antibiotics, a dark champion that had gone from being totally helpless against penicillin back in the early fifties to winning nine out of ten battles against the same drug by 1982.

Apparently they started out hoping to make headway against cancer, but switched their focus to antibiotics later.

But the drug companies have pushed antibiotics as a magic cure for the disease because they see it as a huge marketing opportunity.

Millions of people mixing antibiotics and potential pathogens in their guts, year in, year out.