Essay on When the Antibiotics Quit Working

Submitted By smowens4
Words: 848
Pages: 4

When the Antibiotics Quit Working


This paper will explore the danger of bacteria becoming resistance to antibiotics. It will also explore when antibiotics should be prescribed by a physician, why over-use of antibiotics can cause a negative effect on bacteria and if antibiotic resistance can become a common source of bacterial infections.

When the Antibiotics Quit Working

Antibiotics help with the prevention of the cellular process that bacteria can depend on for growth such as the cell wall, protein synthesis, vitamin B, and DNA. When antibiotics stop working it is because the bacteria have come up with different ways to stop antibiotics from properly working such as the bacteria changing its target. Antibiotics will usually stick to working towards their target trying to prevent any further interaction with any other molecules in its cell walls. This is good, however the bacteria can come up with a way to do structure change or replace its origin with another molecule in its place. By doing this the original antibiotic that was sent in to do the job now cannot recognize the bacteria leaving the antibiotic not very effective. “The experts are sounding the alarm about antibiotic resistance because of grim new evidence: Resistance happens quickly, in parallel with the use of antibiotics. An 11-year study of cancer patients at a hospital in Switzerland (see the 4/28/94 New England Journal of Medicine) found that no strains of Escherichia coli (a common intestinal bacteria that can be pathogenic) resisted any of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics between 1983 and 1990. But between 1991 and 1993, 28 percent of the strains tested were resistant to all five of them. During the study period, the percentage of patients getting antibiotics rose from 1.4 percent to 45 percent”. (Tenenbaum, 1995). Finding out from experts over the years that it is very dangerous for bacteria to become resistance to antibiotics, and when this occurs resistance tends to happen extremely quickly not leaving much time to reassess or counteract with another antibiotic leaving you to wondering if bacteria are really smart organisms that have a tendency to adapt to its environment and keeping one step ahead of antibiotics. This leads me to my next discussion on when antibiotics should be prescribed by a physician. It is only natural for a physician to prescribe an antibiotic when a patient is diagnosed with a bacterial infection of fungi. However there are natural antibiotics that can also help fight against bacteria. It has been discovered that by isolating microbes in soil samples grown in a lab then extracting their secretions can become a natural antibiotic. “By testing those chemicals against disease-causing bacteria, drugmakers look for individual molecules that might have therapeutic potential. Pharmaceutical companies have tested millions of bacterial extracts in this way, yet only about 10 classes of natural antibiotics are on the market”. (Walsh & Fischbach, 2009). On the down side to this, over the past ten years there has been a decline in antibiotic discovery by the pharmaceutical companies “because most antibiotic-producing microbes form spores that travel the globe--and the genes responsible for antibiotic production can be transferred horizontally, just like antibiotic-resistance genes--many different microbes make the same antibiotics”. (Walsh & Fischbach, 2009). Even though bacteria can counteract and prevent natural or synthetic antibiotics from working. By continuing to modifying the current antibiotics we use, this