This week introduced the key themes discussed in this course. You now know what antibiotics are and which pathogens they are active against. You have learned that our over-reliance on antibiotics has encouraged the development of resistance and led to many drugs becoming powerless against common bacterial infections. You have also heard from eminent scientists that antibiotic resistance poses one of the biggest threats to public health today.
Having had a glimpse of how limited medical options were in the pre-antibiotic age, you can now begin to speculate on what the future might be like without these ‘wonder’ drugs.
You should now be able to:
- recall why pathogenic bacteria pose a threat to human health
- define the term antibiotic and give examples
- describe the importance of antibiotics in modern health care
- analyse antibiotic data and make simple deductions about antibiotic use and resistance patterns
- discuss the consequences of a future without antibiotics.
Next week you will find out how different types of antibiotic work and how they can target bacteria in the body yet leave body cells unharmed. You will also explore why some antibiotics are active against a wide range of bacteria but others are not.
You can now go to Week 2.