Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers develop new approach for vanquishing superbugs

A scientific team from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic has developed a new way to identify second-line antibiotics that may be effective in killing germs already resistant to a first-line ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Cleaning routine shows promise in curbing superbug infection

Think of it as decontaminating yourself. Hospitalized patients who harbor certain superbugs can cut their risk of developing full-blown infections if they swab medicated goo in their nose and use special soap and mouthwash ...

Medical research

Researchers speed up detection of blood infection

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have developed a new method of detecting blood infection that they hope will dramatically speed up diagnosis and treatment of severe infection.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Vitamin D helps treat lethal drug-resistant TB

Vitamin D has been found to speed up the clearance of tuberculosis (TB) bacteria from the lungs of people with multi-drug resistant TB, according to a study of 1,850 patients receiving antibiotic treatment, led by Queen Mary ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Review finds antibiotic development increased, but insufficient

While the pipeline of new antibiotics has improved over the past six years, momentum in the development of new infection-fighting agents remains inadequate and could take a significant downturn without new incentives, a report ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers find new treatment for Chlamydia

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a new way to prevent and treat Chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the world.

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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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