Medical research

Cannabis helps fight resistant bacteria

Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming, antibiotics have saved millions of lives from fatal infections world-wide. However, with time bacteria have developed mechanisms to escape the effects of ...

Medical research

Speedy antibiotic susceptibility tests for high-priority pathogens

At the core of the antibiotic-resistance crisis is the lack of a rapid and general antibiotic susceptibility test (AST) that can assess the infecting pathogen's sensitivity to antibiotics and thus inform treatment decisions ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Why the coronavirus and most other viruses have no cure

People hospitalized with severe symptoms from the coronavirus are given medicine to bring down the fever and fluids to keep them hydrated, generally by intravenous tube. Some patients are connected to a ventilator: a mechanical ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Published consensus statement offers UTI treatment recommendations

They are among the most common ailments for those residing at post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) centers, yet diagnosing and managing urinary tract infections (UTIs) remains a challenging prospect for caregivers at these ...

Pediatrics

Antibiotics may not help children with suspected pneumonia

(HealthDay)—For children with suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) who are discharged from the emergency department, outcomes do not differ between those who do and those who do not receive antibiotic prescriptions, ...

Medications

Antibiotics: City dwellers and children take the most

City dwellers take more antibiotics than people in rural areas; children and the elderly use them more often than middle-aged people; the use of antibiotics decreases as education increases, but only in rich countries: These ...

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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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