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Combating Drug Resistance
July 13, 2012
Drug resistance is a growing problem in modern medicine. The issue of drug resistance encompasses resistance of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other organisms to antibacterial agents and other drug treatments. This article examines the emergence of multidrug resistant pathogens and introduces a few of the methods available to address the issue – including some new developments at the frontiers of modern drug research.
DRUGS AND ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS
Naturally available plants and moulds have been used for thousands of years (some more successfully than others) as a treatment for a broad range of ailments. However, it is only over the last couple of centuries that medicine has matured into an important field in modern science, and the use of drugs has led to a marked improvement in hygiene, health and life expectancy.
Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, the use of antibiotics and other medicinal drugs has become a global industry with a value measured in hundreds of billions of dollars. Indeed, the use of drugs – including antivirals and antimicrobial agents – are central to medicine today. The use of manufactured antibiotics is now widespread both in humans and in livestock. We rely on antibiotics, antivirals, vaccines and other forms of medicine to protect us against sickness and disease. However, there is a problem….