Antimicrobial agents – optimising the ecological balanceReport as inadecuate

Antimicrobial agents – optimising the ecological balance - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

BMC Medicine

, 14:114

Medicine and the Future of Health


BackgroundThere is no more challenging a group of pharmaceuticals than antimicrobials. With the antibiotic era came great optimism as countless deaths were prevented from what were previously fatal conditions. Although antimicrobial resistance was quickly identified, the abundance of antibiotics entering the market helped cement attitudes of arrogance as the -battle against pestilence appeared won-. Opposite emotions soon followed as many heralded the return of the pre-antibiotic era, suggesting that the -antibiotic pipeline had dried up- and that our existing armament would soon be rendered worthless.

DiscussionIn reality, humans overrate their ecological importance. For millions of years there has been a balance between factors promoting bacterial survival and those disturbing it. The first half century of the -antibiotic era- was characterised by a cavalier attitude disturbing the natural balance; however, recent efforts have been made through several mechanisms to respond and re-strengthen the antimicrobial armament. Such mechanisms include a variety of incentives, educational efforts and negotiations. Today, there are many more -man-made- factors that will determine a new balance or state of ecological harmony.

ConclusionAntibiotics are not a panacea nor will they ever be inutile. New resistance mechanisms will be identified and new antibiotics will be discovered, but most importantly, we must optimise our application of these extraordinary -biological tools-; therein lays our greatest challenge – creating a society that understands and respects the determinants of the effectiveness of antibiotics.

KeywordsAntibiotic stewardship Antibiotic policy Antibiotic pipeline Antimicrobials Antibiotics  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Sze-Ann Woon - Dale Fisher


Related documents