Antibiotics are medicines that kill bacteria or inhibit their growth. This makes them an important medical weapon in the fight against bacterial diseases in both humans and animals. Antibiotics are used against bacterial infections such as blood poisoning or pneumonia. If the immune system is weakened, antibiotics can also be prescribed as a preventive measure to protect against infections.
There are different classes of antibiotics with different mechanisms of action. Each class of antibiotics attacks bacteria in a different way. Some prevent bacteria from synthesising new cell walls, while others block the transmission of genetic information during replication. Bacteria can get used to antibiotics and become resistant, i.e. insensitive, to antibiotics. That’s how antibiotics lose their effectiveness.