It has been called the miracle drug, and saviour. It is used on a daily basis to treat a plethora of infections, and to prevent others from occurring. This miracle is antibiotics. A chemical synthesized by or extracted from micro-organisms that eradicate other micro-organisms. Antibiotics kill bacteria in a variety of different ways, from inhibiting cell wall synthesis to inhibiting specific bacterial metabolic pathways. The phenomenon of antibiotic resistance, only now in the world spotlight, has been present since the beginning of time. The increase in antibiotic resistance can be attributed to sociological, ecological, and genetic factors. These include overuse, random mutation, horizontal gene transfer, and selective pressure. In light of these new discoveries the world has come to realise the seriousness of this event. If the rate of antibiotic resistance is not slowed or reversed, the world could face epidemics of infectious diseases, and may be forced into a situation where antibiotics would be futile in the war against harmful flora. .
To facilitate the search for a cure for antibiotic resistance, one must first understand the characteristics of antibiotics and then analyze the methods that bacteria use to attain resistance. "The classification of antibiotics is done according to the mechanisms of actions of the corresponding antibiotic." Beta lactams (ex. penicillins) are types of antibiotics that slay bacteria by inhibiting cell wall synthesis. Aminoglycosides (ex. Gentamicin) inhibit certain steps in bacterial protein synthesis. Quinolones (ex. Ofloxacin) prevent bacterial growth by hindering the activities of bacterial DNA Gyrase and Topisomerase. Sulphonamides slow bacterial growth by inhibiting specific bacterial metabolic pathways. Bacteria have natural instincts that help them fight back, and survive, in the presence of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance has been found to be induced by a larger number of internal and external stresses, but scientists have discovered that antibiotics are "born" with a certain level of resistance.