Medical research

Discoveries reshape understanding of gut microbiome

The human gut is home to microorganisms that outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. Now, discoveries by scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have redefined how the so-called gut microbiome operates ...

Medications

Benefits, risks seen with antibiotics-first for appendicitis

Antibiotics may be a good choice for some, but not all, patients with appendicitis, according to results from the Comparing Outcomes of antibiotic Drugs and Appendectomy (CODA) Trial reported today in the New England Journal ...

Medical research

Coupling antibiotics with stem cells to fight off bone infections

Bone infections caused by implants are difficult to treat and usually require a prolonged course of antibiotic treatment. In a new study, researchers from Kanazawa University discovered that implant-related bone infections ...

Inflammatory disorders

Antibiotic pre-treatment reduces joint inflammation

Tearing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be an excruciatingly painful injury. Nearly 50 percent of these patients will develop a secondary form of osteoarthritis, deemed post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA).

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Could COVID-19 be fuelling drug resistance?

We need to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wider health issues to shape better public health responses and limit long-term consequences. Drug resistance is one of these, Gemma Buckland-Merrett explains.

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Antibiotic

In common usage, an antibiotic (from the Ancient Greek: ἀντί – anti, "against", and βίος – bios, "life") is a substance or compound that kills bacteria or inhibits their growth. Antibiotics belong to the broader group of antimicrobial compounds, used to treat infections caused by microorganisms, including fungi and protozoa.

The term "antibiotic" was coined by Selman Waksman in 1942 to describe any substance produced by a microorganism that is antagonistic to the growth of other microorganisms in high dilution. This original definition excluded naturally occurring substances that kill bacteria but are not produced by microorganisms (such as gastric juice and hydrogen peroxide) and also excluded synthetic antibacterial compounds such as the sulfonamides. Many antibiotics are relatively small molecules with a molecular weight less than 2000 Da.[citations needed]

With advances in medicinal chemistry, most antibiotics are now semisynthetic—modified chemically from original compounds found in nature, as is the case with beta-lactams (which include the penicillins, produced by fungi in the genus Penicillium, the cephalosporins, and the carbapenems). Some antibiotics are still produced and isolated from living organisms, such as the aminoglycosides, and others have been created through purely synthetic means: the sulfonamides, the quinolones, and the oxazolidinones. In addition to this origin-based classification into natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic, antibiotics may be divided into two broad groups according to their effect on microorganisms: those that kill bacteria are bactericidal agents, while those that only impair bacterial growth are known as bacteriostatic agents.

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