Waksman in 1942 defined “antibiotic” (Gk. Anti-against, biosis-life) as “a soluble chemical substance, produced by a living organism (mould or bacterium) and inhibits the growth of or kills other micro-organisms.”
A micro-organism, that produces an antimicrobial substance, is called antibiont and the process is called antibiosis.
The first antibiotic or Penicillin (a product of moulds, Penicillum notatum and P. chrysognum) was discovered in 1928 by Fleming.
It was proved to be a panacea (a cure for all). It slows or stops the growth of bacteria making it easier for the body’s natural defences to eliminate them.
Precaution for Indiscriminate use of Antibiotics:
Indiscriminate use of antibiotics can cause harm to the individual and to the society.
1. Antibiotic should be taken only when prescribed by doctors.
2. The schedule, such as dose, strength and time, should be followed strictly.
3. The full course should be prescribed.
4. Antibiotic should not be taken by self-medication.
5. In case of adverse side effect, the antibiotics should be stopped and the physician should be consulted immediately.
6. No antibiotics are required for viral and non-infectious diseases.
Effect of indiscriminate use of antibiotics:
The indiscriminate use of antibiotics can be harmful.
1. Self-medication of antibiotics leads to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and other severe problems.
2. Antibiotics also kill useful bacteria present in intestine. This disturbs the natural balance of intestinal bacteria fauna.
3. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics makes the pathogens resistant.
(i) Genetic mutation:
The resistance is caused by mutation in the chromosome, called chromosomal resistance.
(ii) Genetic exchange:
It is the resistance, caused by the exchange of plasmid genes, called extra chromosomal resistance.
4. The bacterial resistance can be reduced by the following methods:
(i) Indiscriminate use of antibiotics should be avoided.
(ii) The antibiotics should be used in full dose and for the period required to eliminate pathogen.
(iii) Combination of antibiotics can be used to avoid resistance.
(iv) Antibiotics should not be used for common ailments.