Infectious diseases can be described as those diseases that originate when a person gets infected with a pathogenic organism that include bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, multicellular parasites or infectious proteins known as prions
Through development in science, it is now possible to eradicate most of these diseases by means of antimicrobial agents that are being widely used in the treatment of infectious diseases.
These antimicrobial agents can be broadly classified into two categories that include antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents.
Antibiotics are natural substances that are secreted by certain microorganisms and can effectively kill other microorganisms. The first antibiotic was Penicillin discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929. All the antibiotics that are currently being used are mainly secreted by three unrelated groups of microbes. These include Penicillium and Cephalosporium molds that secrete Penicillin and Cephalosporin, Actinomycetes species that produce tetracyclines, aminoglycosides such as streptomycin, macrolides such as erythromycin, chloramphenicol, ivermectin and rifamycins and Bacillus species that produce zwittermicin and other polypeptide antibiotics such as polymyxin and bacitracin. Chemotherapeutic agents are synthetic drugs that are completely synthesized in the laboratory. This treatment method where chemical agents are used to destroy microbes is known as chemotherapy. There are different types of chemotherapeutic agents used to kill microbes. These include alkylating agents such as Cisplatin and cyclophosphamide, anti-metabolites, plant alkaloids and terpenoids, taxanes and topoisomerase inhibitors.
Apart from these, there is one more way of treating infectious diseases, which is vaccination. A vaccine is primarily a preparation that is used to boost up the host’s immune system against a particular pathogen. Vaccination or administration of vaccines is primarily a prophylactic method used with the objective of preventing infection that might occur in future. However, there are also vaccines that are used as therapy.
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