Among the greatest triumphs of modern medicine were the identification and naming of the Penicillium mold by Alexander Fleming in 1928, and its ability to inhibit bacteria growth on culture medium. Penicillin was then developed by the team of Heatley, Chain, and Florey in England during the Second World War.1 This miracle brought about the ability to cure previously untreatable diseases and devastating infections that had high morbidity and mortality rates. Along with the great efficacy of penicillin was the added benefit of very few side effects. This area of research brought about the era of antibiotic production, which began in the 1950s.
Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance and Implications for Health Care
Antibiotics target one or multiple modes of cellular communication which allow microorganisms to proliferate. These include cell wall, membrane transport, RNA function, DNA synthesis, protein function, or enzyme activity.2 Interrupting cellular communication and thus proliferation has made antibiotics very effective against a broad range of microoganisms. In looking at the history of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) we must remember that there are two sides to every coin, and with the positive side of clinical efficacy against microoganisms there is also a downside. To ensure their survival, it has become necessary for microorganisms to evolve and genetically mutate. These processes have caused the organisms of today to be much different from the organisms of yesterday, much more virulent, and more multidrug resistant … read more