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Chapter 1 : Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs

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Abstract:

This chapter attempts to provide a view of the issues relating to antibiotic use that are currently being debated in the medical community. We all know that antibiotics are good for us. People also wanted to know how antibiotics differed from other antimicrobial compounds such as disinfectants and antiseptics and how they differed from vaccines. Although the chapter focuses on antibiotics, it is worth addressing this question because the most effective strategy against bacterial infections is a strategy that combines these different anti-infective approaches. In the chapter, many tales will be told of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. We will return later to the perplexing question of why some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics so much more readily than others. A dramatic example of the impact of antibiotics is provided by the lung disease tuberculosis. Physicians have known and practiced surgical procedures for centuries, but only with the discovery of disinfectants and antibiotics did surgery become the relatively low-risk procedure it is today. The chapter presents a role for antibiotics that is more dramatic than this view would admit.

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
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Figures

Image of Figure 1.1
Figure 1.1

, the causative agent of syphilis, as seen with an electron microscope. (Courtesy of Janice Carr, CDC, Atlanta, Ga.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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Image of Figure 1.2
Figure 1.2

, the cause of tuberculosis, as seen in a specimen from a patient. (Courtesy of George P. Kubica, CDC, Atlanta, Ga.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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Image of Figure 1.3
Figure 1.3

, a major cause of bacterial pneumonia, as seen with an electron microscope. (Courtesy of Janice Carr, CDC, Atlanta, Ga.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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Image of Figure 1.4
Figure 1.4

Anne Sheafe Miller with her doctor (left) and Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin (right). (Courtesy of the family of Anne Sheafe Miller.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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Image of Figure 1.5
Figure 1.5

World War II poster extolling the virtues of penicillin. (Courtesy of Pfizer Inc.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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Image of Figure 1.6
Figure 1.6

, the cause of most gastric ulcers, as seen with an electron microscope. (Reprinted from J. O'Rourke and G. Bode, p. 53–67, H. L. T. Mobley, G. L. Mendz, and S. L. Hazell, ed., Helicobacter pylori: , 2001.)

Citation: Salyers A, Whitt D. 2005. Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, p 1-16. In Revenge of the Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817602.ch1
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