Author: Annie Duong
The rise of antibiotics arose in the middle of the 20th century when Paul Ehrlich introduced his laboratory work in systematic screening and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 . While Ehrlich’s approach to drug research and Fleming’s discovery were highly effective against disease- causing microbes in the 1900s, the World Health Organization has declared antibiotic resistance a global health crisis within the this past year .
Superbugs, or microbes, have multiple mutations which led to remarkable levels of resistance to antibiotics. They can be found in both developing and industrialized countries, and are caused by different factors . In the United States, a vast amount of antibiotics have been over-prescribed due to the high demand of patients who believe that taking the pill would be a quick solution to their current maladies. According to the IMS Health Midas database, the US, in particular the midwestern and southern states, have seen an overwhelmingly large amount of prescriptions, ranging from approximately 800 to 1200 prescriptions per 1000 people of all age ranges in the past few years alone. In addition, several other countries have seen a widespread use of antibiotics due to their lack of regulation and availability in common drugstores .
Not only do medical professionals and hospitals contribute to over-prescribed antibiotics, but so does the agricultural industry. In livestock, many animals are crowded together in tight enclosed spaces, making them more susceptible to diseases. Antibiotics were introduced into the farming industries to help promote growth. However, the bacteria travels through the human population as resistant bacteria from the livestock is transmitted to consumers, which can then cause diseases. Its usage has seen a large detrimental effect on the microbes in the environment, as nearly all of the antibiotics injected in animals become part of their excrement and urine, which are then spread through groundwater and fertilizer .
Although Fleming had precautioned the usage of antibiotics and their possible abuse  even in the 20th century, his warning was not heeded. However, there are current solutions that have been in developing stages. Since antibacterial resistance is deeply embedded in a network of various problems, there must be a multilevel intervention plan that must be implemented. Educating medical and health care professionals and the public about appropriate usage of prescriptions will be an effective starting tool . It is essential in that this is implemented early on in curriculums to further prevent misuse of prescriptions. Research laboratories are still undergoing studies to develop new treatment strategies that instead of trying to kill microbes, methods to inhibit DNA replication in bacterial plasmids or resistance devices like efflux pump inhibitors are undergoing investigation . In the meantime, the general public can make a collective effort to become better educated in their choices in their medical needs as well as being aware of the products they consume for food and personal use.