What is Antibiotic Resistance? – An explanation.


What is Antibiotic Resistance? – An explanation.

Antibiotic resistance is the behavior of bacteria where they resist treatment with antibacterial medication that could once have served as their treatment (Davies and Davies, 2010). Antibiotic resistance is a subset of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) behavior of microbes becoming resistant to drugs. Three ways in which antibiotic resistance could occur include natural occurrence, wrongful self-medication and clinical misuse of antibacterial drugs.

Under natural occurrence, the bacteria itself evolves in structure such that those components affected by antibiotics become obsolete while the more resistance components become the majority. This characteristic is passed on to offspring and hence the bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic previously harmful to it. Secondly, self-medication causes antibiotic resistance since the pathogens in the body become more immune to an antibiotic that is being administered more often than required (Rather et. al., 2017). According to Morris, Cleary and Clarke (2017), such a case is worsened by secondary infections where an already weak body is attacked by new types of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Lastly, on clinical misuse, Shallcross and Davies (2014) explains that excessive prescription of antibiotics quickens the bacteria resistance to these antibiotics hence rendering them ineffective. The clinical misuse scenario elaborated by Shallcross and Davies (2014) is for instance where 50% of patients suffering from common cold, cough and viral sore throughs were given antibiotics against the recommended UK general practice.

An example of antibiotic resistance is the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis which has resistance several antibiotics over time including Rifampicin, Isoniazid, Ethambutol, Pyrazinamide among others (Palomino and Martin, 2014). Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes Tuberculosis inflections in human beings.


Morris, D. E., Cleary, D. W., & Clarke, S. C. (2017). Secondary bacterial infections associated with influenza pandemics. Frontiers in microbiology, 8, 1041.

Rather, I. A., Kim, B. C., Bajpai, V. K., & Park, Y. H. (2017). Self-medication and antibiotic resistance: Crisis, current challenges, and prevention. Saudi journal of biological sciences, 24(4), 808-812.

Shallcross, L. J., & Davies, D. S. C. (2014). Antibiotic overuse: a key driver of antimicrobial resistance.

Davies, J., & Davies, D. (2010). Origins and evolution of antibiotic resistance. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev., 74(3), 417-433.

Palomino, J. C., & Martin, A. (2014). Drug resistance mechanisms in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antibiotics, 3(3), 317-340.

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