Penicillin, the most widely known antibiotic that is used today, was first discovered in 1896 by a French medical student named Ernest Duchesne; however, the vast use of this antibiotic came about after the Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming rediscovered it in1928. After its rediscovery, pharmaceutical companies began mass-producing and selling this drug, and only four years later, bacteria were found that began resisting these antibiotics. Michael Blum, a medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says that antibiotic resistance occurred because, “There was complacency in the 1980s. The perception was that we had licked the bacterial infection problem. Drug companies weren’t working on new agents. They were working on other areas, such as viral infections…In the mean time, resistance increased to a number of commonly used antibiotics, possibly related to overuse of antibiotics. In the 1990s, we’ve come to a point for certain infections that we don’t have agents available.” The rise of antibiotic-resistance is happening because of the evolution, as mentioned below. Although it is inevitable, scientists are doing as much as they can to figure how to solve this dilemma. The most important thing we can do now is: improve infection control, create new antibiotics, and use these medications more appropriately.
Read more about the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, how antibiotic resistance occurs, and our “Greatest Fear” here.