(1997; 13 pages)
Since the introduction of the first effective antimicrobial drugs many different chemical classes of molecule of natural, semi-synthetic or synthetic origin have been exploited for their selective toxicity.
After the discovery of sulphonamides and penicillin earlier this century, the years between 1940 and 1970 saw the >golden age= of discovery of new antibacterial agents. As a result, many infections which were once serious and potentially fatal can now be treated and cured.
However, such past successes have encouraged the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. The result: the emergence of resistance on a global scale. Microorganisms are not easily outwitted and subsequent to the introduction of each new antimicrobial drug, sooner or later, drug-resistant strains (and opportunist pathogens innately resistant to the drugs) have emerged.