What is an antibiotic?
An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of such infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Antibiotics have been used since ancient times. Many civilizations used topical application of mouldy bread, with many references to its beneficial effects arising from ancient Egypt, Nubia, China, Serbia, Greece, and Rome.
The first person to directly document the use of molds to treat infections was John Parkinson (1567–1650). Antibiotics revolutionized medicine in the 20th century. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) discovered modern day penicillin in 1928, the widespread use of which proved significantly beneficial during wartime.
However, the effectiveness and easy access to antibiotics have also led to their overuse and some bacteria have evolved resistance to them.