advertisement-vertical Download Proto magazine app
Social Icons

The Rise and Fall of Antibiotics

They started out packing a punch, but antibiotics are not invincible.

icon-printprint
share: digg.com del.icio.us facebook.com
 
Joseph Lister

Brown Brothers

1867

English surgeon Joseph Lister describes his use of carbolic acid as an antiseptic during surgery, eradicating microbes and preventing infection.

1876

German physician Robert Koch publishes work proving that bacteria cause disease, with anthrax bacilli as Exhibit A; Koch’s four postulates for determining the cause of new microbial diseases are still used today.

Alexander Fleming

Bettmann/Corbis

1928

Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming finds that a Penicillium notatum mold growing on a lab plate full of Staphylococcus kills the bacteria around it. He names the active substance penicillin, but because it’s so difficult to purify large amounts, he drops the research.

1932

In a lab at Bayer in Germany, Gerhard Domagk discovers that a sulfa drug, later called Prontosil, defeats streptococci in mice and is later found to work in humans.

Penicillin

Dennis Kunkel/Phototake

1939

French microbiologist Rene Dubos discovers gramicidin in soil, ultimately the primary source of many antibiotics; Oxford scientists Howard Florey and Ernst Chain figure out how to produce substantial quantities of penicillin, leading to its industrial production.

Antibiotics

Frans Lanting/Corbis

1944-68

Most major classes of antibiotics, including the aminoglycosides, cephalosporins and tetracyclines, are introduced.

2000

After a number of years, the FDA approves a new class of antibiotics, oxazolidinones, for clinical use.

2003

The FDA approves a second new class of antibiotics, lipopeptides.

2007

With antibiotic resistance on the rise, the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act is introduced in Congress.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Digital Vision Photography/Veer

2008

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions considers incentives such as federal grants, tax credits and data exclusivity protection to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics.

Stat-arrow-green

The War on Superbugs

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

As medicine battles antibiotic resistance, tougher drugs breed still more deadly bacteria. New approaches could break the cycle.

Out With the Big, In with the Little

Small biotechs are picking up antibiotic research where Big Pharma left off. Will their efforts be enough to beat resistance?

Protomag on Facebook Protomag on Twitter