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What are antibiotics? How does antibiotic resistance develop in bacteria?

Last updated date: 19th Jul 2024
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Hint: These are substances that are designed to weaken or destroy bacteria in our body. They are used to treat a number of infections.

Complete Answer:
Antibiotics are chemical compounds that are formed by certain microbes that can kill or slow down the development of other (disease-causing) microbes. They are a form of antimicrobial developed to target bacterial infections inside (or within) the body. There are two main ways that antibiotics attack bacteria. They either inhibit the development of bacteria or destroy the bacteria, by blocking the process responsible for building their cell walls. Each type of antibiotic only acts against certain types of bacteria or parasites. This is why various antibiotics are used to treat particular kinds of infections.

Antibiotic resistance occurs as germs such as bacteria and fungi acquire the capacity to destroy medicines intended to kill them. This ensures that the germs are not destroyed and begin to grow. Antibiotic resistance is due to modifications or mutations in the DNA of the bacteria or by acquiring antibiotic resistance genes from other bacterial organisms by horizontal gene transfer. This ensures that when an antibiotic is used, all bacteria that have not undergone a mutation will be destroyed, while the antibiotic resistant bacteria will remain unchanged. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria will continue to divide and expand, creating even more bacteria that are not harmed by the antibiotic. It is impossible to cure or control infections as antibiotic resistance develops.

Note:Antibiotic resistance is increased by the widespread use of antibiotics and by inadequate prevention and management of infections. Resistance also makes it more difficult to take care of people with chronic illnesses.