Chapter 1 : Historical Review of Antibacterial Chemotherapy

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Apart from a few parasitic diseases, the antibacterial chemotherapy developed by Paul Ehrlich at the end of the 19th century was limited purely to the treatment of syphilis. From 1945, research in the field of antibacterial chemotherapy followed two directions: (i) synthetic antibacterial agents not found in nature and (ii) antibiotics extracted from the fermentation of molds, actinomycetes, and other bacterial genera. In 1929, Fleming published his studies on the potent antibacterial activity of a very active substance known as penicillin, which was capable of inhibiting the growth of and and that was also practically devoid of toxicity. In the mid-1970s, the bacterial ecology of hospitals changed and the focus of concerns in anti-infective therapy moved towards and certain species of , particularly spp. Research into β-lactams was conducted simultaneously in the fields of penicillins and cephems. The major characteristic of these molecules is their good activity against cephalosporinase-producing strains of enterobacteria. In 1907, Charles Nicolle noted that was capable of lysing pneumococci. Later, E. Duclaux discovered the same property in other species. Future research into antibacterial chemotherapy should consider not only the potential antibacterial activity of the new derivatives but also their immunological properties.

Citation: Bryskier A. 2005. Historical Review of Antibacterial Chemotherapy, p 1-12. In Bryskier, M.D. A (ed), Antimicrobial Agents. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815929.ch1
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