An Antibiotic’s Effectiveness
An antibiotic’s effectiveness depends on certain factors such as an antibiotic’s spectrum of coverage, resistance patterns and structure of bacteria and lastly, disease processes that the antibiotic will be used on. This paper will focus on a hypothetically perfect antibiotic this author will create based on the various factors mentioned and three proposed hypotheses on what factors results in an antibiotic’s ineffectiveness.
Spectrum of Coverage
According to Adams, Holland and Urban (2016), an antibiotic’s spectrum of coverage refers to the type of bacterial pathogens a specific antibiotic will be effective against. There are two types of spectrum of coverage: broad and narrow. A broad-spectrum antibiotic will work against various species of bacterial pathogens meanwhile a narrow-spectrum antibiotic will work against a smaller group or isolated species of bacterial pathogens (Adams, Holland & Urban, 2016). There are two main groups for bacterial pathogens: gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria (Sizar & Unakal, 2018). Their names refer to the colors the bacteria give during the bacterial staining process (which involves a crystal violet dye) to identify the organisms. Gram-positive bacteria turn blue due to their thick peptidoglycan cell wall meanwhile gram-negative bacteria with their thinner peptidoglycan cell wall do not hold the dye color (Sizar & Unakal, 2018). A perfect antibiotic will have broad-spectrum coverage and work against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria effectively treating various infections.
Resistance patterns/Structure of bacteria
According to Munita and Arias (2016), there are three mechanisms bacteria utilize to resist antibiotics: the release of bacterial enzymes that degrade an antibiotic, modification of bacterial proteins that are antibiotic targets and alteration in bacterial membrane permeability. Bacteria can secret enzymes that render a drug inactive or obliterate the drug itself. On the other hand, bacteria have the ability to mutate genes responsible for encoding the target site and alter the binding site enzymes. Lastly, bacteria have evolved mechanisms to reduce the uptake of antibiotic substances to keep the antibiotic from reaching their intracellular targets found in their inner membrane such as in the case of gram-negative bacteria. Oliveira and Reygaert (2019) discussed that the exterior membrane of gram-negative bacteria is resistant to drugs that are both hydrophilic and lipophilic. Furthermore, the interior membrane of a gram-negative bacteria is resistant to hydrophilic substances which is the reason why there are numerous drug resistance issues with these bacteria. Therefore, the perfect antibiotic is a substance that will be activated by the enzymes released in the bacteria especially at the binding sites. It is also non-hydrophilic or lipophilic so it can pass through the bacterial membrane barriers.
According to McClure et al. (2017), an estimated one billion people are at risk of infection with obligate intracellular bacteria (such as Chlamydia spp, Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp., Rickettsia spp. and Orientia spp.). Obligate intracellular bacteria are deadly organisms due to the bacteria’s ability to replicate and multiply inside the cells of their host. These bacteria can trick the immune system to allow the bacteria to infect other areas in the body (McClure et al., 2017) Kamaruzzaman, Kendall and Good (2017) discussed that quinolone antibiotics’ efficacy at accumulating at sufficient intracellular concentrations and their ability to disperse at subcellular compartments made them the best treatment option for intracellular infections. The perfect antibiotic to work in any disease process will be exceptional at maintaining bacterial intracellular concentrations as well as penetrating and dispersing within bacterial subcellular compartments. In addition, the antibiotic will have the ability to reach hard to reach areas of the body such as within the bones or the brain.
Hypotheses for Antibiotic Ineffectiveness
There are multiple factors that can turn the most ideal and effective antibiotic ineffective. Mishandling or misuse of any antibiotic can certainly affect the efficacy of an antibiotic. Antibiotics are treatments used against bacteria. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2019), antibiotics do not treat viral infections such as viruses that cause cold, flu and bronchitis. Therefore, the utilization of antibiotics on the wrong organism will make it an ineffective treatment. Second, is the non-compliance of a patient to the course of treatment. Bacterial resistance is a known negative outcome as a result of non-adherence to antibiotic treatment. According to this U.S. Food Drug and Administration (2019), if the antibiotic treatment is discontinued earlier in the treatment course and an individual falls ill again, the lingering bacteria can develop resistance due to the drug not having ample time to eradicate all the infectious bacteria. Lastly, according to the CDC (2017), poor hygiene and sanitation can cause antibiotic resistance. Areas or neighborhoods where there is widespread poor hygiene and sanitation are the perfect environment for bacteria to proliferate causing higher rates of infections or reinfections that results in high usage of antibiotics. High usage of antibiotics can cause bacterial mutations to occur that can resist antibiotics.
Completely eradicating antibiotic ineffectiveness, even with the utilization of a miracle antibiotic that can overcome any type of bacterial resistance, seems unattainable due to various factors (such as improper handling of health care providers and non-adherence of patients). Therefore, it will take more than just the antibiotics themselves to treat any bacterial infection. Responsible and proper use of antibiotics are significant aspects of successful antibiotic treatment.