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Antibiotics have played a major role in our society thanks to SirAlexander Flemings careful observations in 1928 Without it many liveswould be in danger due to infectious diseasesAntibiotics are chemical substances produced by various species ofmicroorganisms and other living systems that are capable in smallconcentrations of inhibiting the growth of or killing bacteria and othermicroorganisms These organisms can be bacteria viruses fungi oranimals called protozoa A particular group of these agents is made up ofdrugs called antibiotics from the Greek word anti against and bioslife Some antibiotics are produced from living organisms such asbacteria fungi and molds Others are wholly or in part synthetic - thatPenicillin is perhaps the best known antibiotic Its discovery andlater development is among mankinds greatest achievements Antibioticshave enabled the medical profession to treat effectively many infectiousdiseases including some that were once life-threateningAntibiotics can be bacteriostatic bacteria stopped from multiplyingor bactericidal bacteria killed To perform either of these functionsantibiotics must be brought into contact with the bacteriaIt is believed that antibiotics interfere with the surface of bacteriacells causing a change in their ability to reproduce Testing the actionof an antibiotic in the laboratory shows how much exposure to the drug isnecessary to halt reproduction or to kill the bacteria Although a largeamount of an antibiotic taken at one time might kill the bacteria causingan illness such a dose usually would make the person suffer from illnesscaused by the drug Therefore antibiotics are given in a series ofsmaller amounts This assures that the bacteria are either killed orreduced enough in numbers so that the body can repel them When too littleantibiotic is taken bacteria can often develop methods to protectthemselves against it The next time the antibiotic is needed againstthese bacteria it will not be effectiveTo work against infecting organisms an antibiotic can be appliedexternally such as to a cut on the skins surface or internally reachingthe bloodstream within the body Antibiotics are made in several forms andTopical Topical application means
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