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Bacterial Resilience- Immunity To Antibiotics?

Updated on January 26, 2014

Discovery Of Penicillin

Sir Alexander Fleming first discovered the link of a mold called "penicillin" to the common bacteria.

In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered the life changing fact that bacteria stays away from Penicillin.

He first used a petri dish and put a few bacteria under the microscope.

Next he put Penicillin on the dish and saw that the bacteria moved away from the Penicillin.

This and few other tests allowed him to conclude that Penicillin can be manipulated to fight off bacterial infections.

Since then Penicillin has been altered and changed various times to fight different strains and slow down bacterial resilience.

Early years and discovery of Penicillin, image of Alexander Fleming.
Early years and discovery of Penicillin, image of Alexander Fleming.

Sir Alexander Fleming

The founder of Penicillin who died in 1955 has been known as, "The father of antibiotics." His roots are traced down to Scotland and was known to be a Scottish biologist studying biology and other medical problems.

His groundbreaking discovery won him many Nobel prizes and is still praised as a medical breakthrough.

During the time of World War I lots of people would die in battle and antiseptics or other external anti bacterial agents would work to a certain extent. Of course Fleming was in this war and he saw how the bacteria would slowly kill or infect the soldiers after wounds.

Even if the wound was cleared the infection would still be somewhere deep inside the flesh. He wanted to find a way to stop this bacteria so he began his research receiving minimal help.

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Common Illnesses Treated With Antibiotics

Many antibiotics used in modern day today are genetically engineered or other variants of Penicillin.

Since Penicillin is the main antibiotic most of the ones used today are in pills or liquid. To this day common infections are treated with antibiotics such as:

  • Strep Throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear Infection
  • Sinus Infection

These are just some of the common illnesses that are treated with regular antibiotics.

Common Uses

The medicine enters the bloodstream and circulates the entire body killing infections where ever they might be. Problems might include allergies to Penicillin and of course resistance.
The medicine enters the bloodstream and circulates the entire body killing infections where ever they might be. Problems might include allergies to Penicillin and of course resistance.

Causes Of Bacterial Reilience

  • Type Of Bacteria
  • Unfinished Dosage
  • Abuse Of Antibiotic
  • Unnecessary Use Of Drug

Bacterial Resilience

Alright so here we go now.

Since we've discussed all the history and background facts it's time to get into the global issue of immunity.

Bacterial resilience occurs when a normal bacteria becomes immune to the antibiotic.

This usually happens from abuse of the drug or neglect to complete the full dosage amount given by the doctor.

Bacteria are just like normal animals and even us.

A bear develops a fur in cold climates to protect itself just like that so do bacteria.

Once they know the effect of Penicillin they start to come up with ways to defend and protect themselves.

Drug Abuse

Sometimes when the doctor prescribes a certain number of antibiotic pills to be taken in certain amount of days people don't do that.

A very common problem is that if the doctor prescribes a 20 day antibiotic prescription after the first 4 days the person starts to feel better and avoids further medication. Of course in this case the bacteria causing the discomfort may be gone but there is still other dormant bacteria that lived through the 4 day dosage.

This bacteria later has other bacteria that are now somewhat immune to the drug. After a while this new bacteria starts to multiply and all these other bacteria now have the drug resistant gene.

After few days the infection reoccurs and now it gets harder to treat because the bacteria that were still alive have now already survived the treatment once.

A Growing Concern

Day by day more and more bacteria are now evolving into stronger and more immune strains. Just like the Flu. It has almost been a century since the discovery of Penicillin and now the strength of the drug is decreasing. A growing concern for a new drug is at hand, but more funding and research is being used to cure bigger diseases such as Cancer, and STD. It is quite possible that Penicillin will last a lot longer and continue to treat bacterial infections, but at some point there will have to be a new drug.

Antibiotics mostly come in pills that should be taken as the doctor says.
Antibiotics mostly come in pills that should be taken as the doctor says.
Drug Resistant bacteria vs normal bacteria.
Drug Resistant bacteria vs normal bacteria.

Types Of Antibiotics

After Penicillin scientists found other versions of Penicillin and even created some. These were specifically made for certain reasons such as eye drops and pills. Some of these medicine include the following-

  • Penicillin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cloxacillin
  • Nafcillin


Like in the video above Penicillin was founded to be very effective in almost all cases. This groundbreaking new invention came with no side effects and minimal threats. Of course this also made people start using this drug for unnecessary reasons. Small infections that would either resolve on their own or with antiseptics were now being treated with antibiotics. Same goes for animals and livestock.

Things that were okay and would possibly resolve with some care were now being treated with this drug. Of course this continued on and on making bacteria more used to Penicillin. It is until a little later that different versions where being made to use so that bacteria would not become immune so quickly.

Stay Clean & Don't Abuse Antibiotics

We as people can make a difference and prologue or maybe even stop this issue.

  1. Wash Your Hands
  2. Stay Clean
  3. Keep A Distance From Contagious People Until They Get Better
  4. Do As Your Doctor Tells You Don't Save Antibiotics For Later
  5. Don't Abuse The Drug

Doing just a few things can make a big difference. Most people don't care and just save some antibiotics for later, but do not do that.

I hope this article helped inform you of a serious problem that can arise soon if Antibiotics are continued to be abused.

Antibiotic Resistance Quick Video

Bacterial Evolution

Bacteria aren't dumb they can use tricks and evolve to stop redirect or even absorb the drug. Some bacteria develop strong outer shells to protect the species from antibiotics.

Other can just redirect the drug from their body. In some severe cases the bacteria can live right through the dosage of Penicillin.

Evolving takes time and different bacteria evolve differently. So how the react to penicillin will differ.

Of course these are extremely evolved bacteria we are talking about and most of these techniques take years of evolution and resources.


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