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Ch 15: Antimicrobial Drugs

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on antimicrobial drugs and learn about antibiotics and antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic drugs. These lessons represent only a small fraction of our course materials.

Antimicrobial Drugs: Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

There are many different types of antimicrobial drugs that are used to treat a wide variety of illnesses. In this chapter, our instructor describes several different types of antimicrobial drugs and explains how they are used to treat illnesses caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Students will be introduced to several specific types of antibiotics and will learn how these drugs affect the human body and its cells. In addition, students will be taught how microbes become resistant to different drugs and how microbiologists and medical doctors work to solve these problems. The testing of antimicrobial drugs in terms of their effectiveness and their potential to cause opportunistic infections will also be covered. Throughout the course of the chapter students will also learn the definitions of several scientific and medical terms used in the academic study as well as practical treatment of illnesses caused by different types of microbes. After completing this chapter, students should be able to identify:

  • The antimicrobial drugs used to treat illnesses caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites
  • The origin, properties and usefulness of antibiotics, such as penicillin
  • How antibiotics inhibit different biological processes within the human body
  • The major types, functions and mechanisms of antifungal, antivirus and antiparasitic drugs
  • How microbes and pathogens become resistant to certain drugs and can cause opportunistic infections
  • How microbiologists and medical doctors test antimicrobial drugs for clinical effectiveness

Video Objective
Types of Antibiotics: Bactericidal vs. Bacteriostatic & Narrow Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum Learn about bactericidal vs. bacteriostatic antibiotics and narrow- and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Drugs: Selective Toxicity, Classes and Mechanisms Learn how antimicrobial drugs kill microbes without harming human cells and why this is more difficult for eukaryotic pathogens than for bacteria. Understand general antimicrobial strategies.
How Does Penicillin Work? - Discovery, Mechanism & Properties Learn about penicillin's discovery, its basic mechanism and how it affects Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Penicillin Resistance: How Penicillin-Resistant Bacteria Avoid Destruction Explain how penicillin-resistant bacteria avoid destruction with enzymes, including beta lactamase, and how newer derivatives of penicillin are used to solve this problem.
Inhibitors of Cell Wall Synthesis: Bacitracin, Vancomycin & Mycobacterium-specific drugs Learn about the cell wall synthesis-inhibitors bacitracin, vancomycin & mycobacterium-specific drugs.
Inhibitors of Protein Synthesis: Aminoglycosides, Tetracyclines, Chloramphenicol & Macrolides Learn about aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol and macrolides as well as their basic mechanisms.
Human Antimicrobial Peptides: How Natural Antibiotics Damage the Plasma Membranes of Bacteria Learn about antimicrobial peptides and how they damage the plasma membranes of bacteria.
Inhibitors of DNA/RNA Synthesis: How Rifamycins and Quinolone Kill Bacteria Describe rifamycins and quinolones and how they kill bacteria.
Inhibitors of Metabolite Synthesis: How Sulfa Drugs Work Describe sulfa drugs and how they work, including synergism of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole.
Antifungal Drugs: Major Types & Functions Identify the major types of antifungal drugs and describe how they differentiate between human and fungi cells.
Antiviral Drugs: Major Types & Functions Identify the major types of antiviral drugs and their basic mechanisms.
Antiparasitic Drugs: Types & Mechanisms Identify drugs that target protozoan and helminthic parasites and their basic mechanisms.
Antibiotic Resistance: Definition, Types & Problems Learn the strategies microbes use to evade antibiotics, how antibiotic resistance increases in a population and the measures taken to decrease this.
MRSA and Drug Resistant Pathogens Identify MRSA and other extremely drug-resistant pathogens and why they are problematic for doctors.
Antibiotic Effectiveness: MICs, Time-dependent and Concentration-dependent Antibiotics Explain how to test microbe susceptibility to different antibiotics. Learn the basics of pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics MICs. Identify time-dependant and concentration-dependent antibiotics.
Opportunistic Infections from Antibiotic Usage: Definition & Examples Understand the potential of antibiotics to kill normal bacterial flora and to create opportunistic infections.

17 Lessons in Chapter 15: Antimicrobial Drugs
Types of Antibiotics: Bactericidal vs.Bacteriostatic & Narrow Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum

1. Types of Antibiotics: Bactericidal vs.Bacteriostatic & Narrow Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum

If someone asked you what antibiotics do, you'd probably say they kill bacteria. But that's not always the case. In this lesson, learn about the general types of antibiotics and the differences between them.

Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Drugs: Selective Toxicity, Classes and Mechanisms

2. Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Drugs: Selective Toxicity, Classes and Mechanisms

How can antibiotics kill bacteria but not harm our own cells? In this lesson, learn about the selective toxicity of antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs and some basic mechanisms for their activity.

How Does Penicillin Work? - Discovery, Mechanism & Properties

3. How Does Penicillin Work? - Discovery, Mechanism & Properties

In this lesson, you will learn about an accidental discovery that changed human history: the discovery of the antibiotic penicillin. You will also learn how it works and why it's most effective against Gram-positive bacteria.

Penicillin Resistance: How Penicillin-Resistant Bacteria Avoid Destruction

4. Penicillin Resistance: How Penicillin-Resistant Bacteria Avoid Destruction

In the battle between humans and bacteria, antibiotics are one of our most important weapons. But, bacteria can fight back! In this lesson, learn about the strategies that some bacteria use in order to avoid being killed by penicillin.

Inhibitors of Cell Wall Synthesis: Bacitracin, Vancomycin & Mycobacteria-specific Drugs

5. Inhibitors of Cell Wall Synthesis: Bacitracin, Vancomycin & Mycobacteria-specific Drugs

Cell walls make good targets for antibiotics because bacteria need them for survival and our cells don't even have them! In this lesson, learn how different types of antibiotics kill bacteria by preventing them from making their cell walls.

Inhibitors of Protein Synthesis: How Antibiotics Target the Bacterial Ribosome

6. Inhibitors of Protein Synthesis: How Antibiotics Target the Bacterial Ribosome

Proteins carry out tons of incredibly important functions within cells. In this lesson, we will learn how antibiotics can fight bacteria by shutting down the ribosome, the protein synthesis factory of the cell.

Antimicrobial Peptides: Definition and Use Against Microbes

7. Antimicrobial Peptides: Definition and Use Against Microbes

If you could poke holes in a bacterium's membrane, would it be like a water balloon, leaking all over the place until it died? In this lesson, learn how short proteins called peptides can specifically damage microbial plasma membranes.

Inhibitors of DNA/RNA Synthesis: How Rifamycins and Quinolones Kill Bacteria

8. Inhibitors of DNA/RNA Synthesis: How Rifamycins and Quinolones Kill Bacteria

If you were a cell, you wouldn't get very far in life without synthesizing the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. In this lesson, learn how rifamycins and quinolones kill bacteria by inhibiting these important processes.

Inhibitors of Metabolite Synthesis: How Sulfa Drugs Work

9. Inhibitors of Metabolite Synthesis: How Sulfa Drugs Work

In our weight-conscious society today, there's a lot of talk about metabolism and how to speed it up. In this lesson, learn what metabolism really is and how antibiotics can work together to inhibit the bacterial metabolism.

Antifungal Drugs: Major Types & Functions

10. Antifungal Drugs: Major Types & Functions

Even though the word fungus brings up nasty images in our minds, many fungi are totally harmless. Still, some fungi can cause dangerous infections. In this lesson, learn about antifungal drugs and how they can specifically kill fungi, even though our own cells are similar to fungal cells in many ways.

Antiviral Drugs: Treatments for Flu & Other Common Viruses

11. Antiviral Drugs: Treatments for Flu & Other Common Viruses

You may have heard that viruses are not even considered to be alive, but they sure can cause a lot of damage when they infect us! Learn how antiviral drugs can selectively inhibit viruses even though they use our own cellular machinery to reproduce.

Antiretroviral Drugs: How HIV Medications Work

12. Antiretroviral Drugs: How HIV Medications Work

In recent years, HIV infection no longer means certain death from AIDS. This is because there are many effective drugs to fight HIV. In this lesson, see how these antiretroviral drugs work, and why they must always be used in combination instead of alone.

Antiparasitic Drugs: Types and Mechanisms

13. Antiparasitic Drugs: Types and Mechanisms

Parasites can cause nasty infections, but they are actually very similar to our own cells. In this lesson, learn about the types of drugs commonly used to eradicate eukaryotic pathogens.

Antibiotic Resistance: Definition, Types & Problems

14. Antibiotic Resistance: Definition, Types & Problems

If you have a bad bacterial infection, what do you do? Go to the doctor and get antibiotics, of course. But, what if antibiotics don't work anymore because the bacteria are antibiotic-resistant? In this lesson, learn how bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics and why this is such a big problem.

MRSA and Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogens

15. MRSA and Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogens

We've learned a lot about different kinds of antibiotics and how they work. But there are some pathogens that virtually no antibiotics work against. In this lesson, we learn about two of these pathogens, and how they threaten to take us back to a pre-antibiotic era.

Antibiotic Effectiveness: MICs, Time- and Concentration-Dependent Antibiotics

16. Antibiotic Effectiveness: MICs, Time- and Concentration-Dependent Antibiotics

With so many antibiotics available, not to mention so much antibiotic resistance in bacteria, how is a doctor supposed to choose which drug to prescribe? In this lesson, learn about tests to determine which antibiotics will be most effective against a microbe.

Opportunistic Infections from Antibiotic Usage: Definition & Examples

17. Opportunistic Infections from Antibiotic Usage: Definition & Examples

In this chapter, we've learned about all kinds of antibiotics and how great they are at curing bacterial infections. However, there is also a bad side to antibiotic treatment. In this lesson, learn how antibiotics can actually cause opportunistic infections.

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