Dentistry

Tiny bots that can deep clean teeth

Nano-sized robots manipulated using a magnetic field can help kill bacteria deep inside dentinal tubules and boost the success of root canal treatments, a new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) ...

Health

How to best protect your immune system

This spring, many people may be getting sick because of COVID-19 or with something else for the first time since the pandemic began. Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Baylor College ...

Genetics

Antibiotics impact gut microbiome and antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat infections and ensure the safety of surgical procedures. However, their overuse has led to the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria, resulting in an "arms race" whereby ever more ...

Medications

Antibiotic use in Uganda is high

Even before the COVID crisis, excessive use and misuse of lifesaving antibiotics had contributed to the emergence of resistant strains of disease-causing organisms. This has rendered many of the most powerful treatments in ...

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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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