When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, the drug proved to be revolutionary in the fight against infections, saving countless lives. However, in 1945 when he gave his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Fleming warned that overuse of the drug would lead to antibiotic resistance. In recent years, many pathogens and bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics due largely in part to the overuse of the medicines. Pathogens resistant to antibiotics are now known as super bugs.
Several very relevant research topics to explore for a research paper on antibiotic resistance include:
- At what point does antibiotic resistance become a problem for a society or an individual?
- Is there any "going back" and becoming a non-antibiotic resistant generation?
- Who, other than Fleming, warned of antibiotic resistance and when?
Antibiotic Resistance and the Common Cold
There are many individuals who believe that antibiotics are an effective treatment for the common cold, and receive numerous prescriptions for such from doctors each year, even though antibiotics have no affect on viruses. As more people take more antibiotics for longer periods of time, the various pathogens are able to develop a resistance to the efficacy of the medicine.
Secondarily, antibiotics are used extensively in the husbandry of animals, obtained without a prescription. Many organisms have developed resistance to these drugs, and can be passed on to humans in milk and other animal activities. As a result, many antibiotics have been banned in animals in the European Union.
In early 2014, the World Health Organization issued a report noting how antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat across the globe. Every human being is potentially at risk for infection from an antibiotic resistant bacteria and microorganism.