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Development of antimicrobial therapy

Take a look back into the past of antimicrobial therapy and how it has developed over the years.

Professor Rose Cooper introduces antimicrobial therapy in this video.

Antimicrobial agents have been in use for a long time. Ancient civilisations used agents such as honey and herbs, which were naturally available and proven to have strongly beneficial effects.

The late 1800s was an era of discoveries which established the association between disease and species of bacteria. This encouraged experimentation with possible treatments, especially with a sudden increase in cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea.

Robert Koch used experiments to prove that the bacterium Bacillus anthracis was the cause of anthrax.

Joseph Lister played a significant role in preventing surgical infections by using carbolic acid. He used this to prevent wound infection for a patient with a compound fracture of the leg.

Paul Ehrlich discovered Salvarsan, an arsenic-based chemical which proved to be an effective treatment against syphilis.

Alexander Fleming is credited with the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillin. This saved many lives during the second World War and paved the way for discovery of other antibiotics.

Timeline of the germ theory. Timeline of the germ theory. Click to enlarge

After watching the video, reflect on the following:

  1. Are there any antimicrobial interventions in your own practice without which you could not continue to manage wounds effectively?

  2. Which antimicrobial dressing do you use most frequently and why?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section and explain your reasoning.

This article is from the free online

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Wound Management

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