Thursday, 25 February 2016

Research: How bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics

  • Most bacteria can be fought off through the use of antibiotics, however those few who are more resistant contain a mutation among its DNA, enabling it to fight off and pump out the antibiotic.
  • When the immune bacteria have fought off the antibiotic, the 'death' of the other bacteria gives them more room to populate and multiple, also know as natural selection. This new population of bacteria are now all immune to the antibiotic previously used.
  • The surviving bacteria uses the bodies resources to double in numbers every 20 minutes, and when the population becomes large enough it begins to attack the body.
  • Antibiotics either slow dow or kill bacteria
  • If the person infected begins to feel better and makes the decision to not complete the course of antibiotics, the more resistant bacteria within the body will begin to multiple as it has no threat to fight off and more room due to the antibiotic killing off the non resistant bacteria.
  • The person will soon become ill again and the previous antibiotic will become ineffective as the bacteria is now immune to it through its DNA mutations.
  • MRSA is one of the most difficult to treat with antibiotics as very few work, MRSA is given the nickname the super bug (along with many others) as a result of its wrong immunity.
  • The first antibiotic (penicillin) was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a discovery which many argue was by chance.

  • Research taken from Cyd Worden, Head of A-Level Science and Physics teacher at Trinity School
  • BBC Bitesize 25/02/16

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