Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper

Antimicrobial agents are essential components in the treatment of various bacterial infections as they help to kill or prevent the growth of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoans. Prior to the discovery of antimicrobial agents, treatment options for patients with bacterial infections were limited. For many patients, treatment often resulted in the amputation of limbs or even death. Today, treatment options for bacterial infections typically have a more positive prognosis. Due to the various types of infections presented in patients, it is essential to be able to identify the underlying cause of the infection—whether bacterial or viral—before recommending drug treatments. This will help you identify whether or not an antimicrobial agent would be appropriate and which specific agent would target the infection. In this Assignment, you consider the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents for infections. Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper

To prepare:
Review this week’s media presentation on principles of antimicrobial therapy, as well as Chapter 8 of the Arcangelo and Peterson text.
Consider the categories of antimicrobial agents.
Think about differences between viral and bacterial infections.
Reflect on why proper identification of the infection is key to selecting the proper antimicrobial agent.

Write a 2 page paper that addresses the following:

Describe the categories of antimicrobial agents.
Describe differences between viral and bacterial infections.
Explain why proper identification of viral and bacterial infections is key to selecting the proper antimicrobial agent.
Human beings suffer from various diseases which arise from an array of infections. Notably, ailments are transmitted by the aid of bacteria of viruses. The most interesting aspect in the field of medicine is the considerable efforts made to identify the types of bacteria and viruses, in the quest to identify the relevant drugs. Despite the availability of effective medication, it is imperative for clinicians to exercise precise diagnostics for acute infections, to warrant accurate medication in the quest to decrease morbidity. Specifically, Becker (2013) states that a precise prognosis warrants a timely recovery, since the mortality rate of bacteria sepsis increases by about 8% for every 60 minutes of delaying antibiotics. It is therefore imperative to differentiate between bacterial and viral infections in the quest to identify the required antibacterial agents for precise prescriptions. Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper

Categories of Antimicrobial Agents

Antimicrobials play an integral role in the treatment of various diseases. Particularly, clinicians apply these drugs in the process of managing physiological conditions before they become chronic. Additionally, Lyle, Pena, Boyd, and Hancock (2014) states that antimicrobials can be administered as a prophylaxis measure for surgical procedures.


Penicillin was created by Alexander Fleming, with its clinical use commencing in 1941. Penicillin G is considerably active against gram-positive cocci, which is known to cause pulmonary and pharyngeal infections. Besides, it is effective in eradicating the Treponema pallidum and Neisseria gonorrhea, the reason it is commonly administered on patients suffering from gonorrhea and syphilis (Becker, 2013). It is highly degradable in acidic mediums and therefore, is manufactured by incorporating other complex salts to warrant effective ingestion and uptake in the body. Besides, the phenoxymethyl derivative of penicillin, commonly referred to as penicillin V is more stable in acidic mediums. Based on this aspect, it is the most standardized form preferred for oral use.


Cephalosporins are drugs which act in a manner similar to penicillin. Particularly, they are more active to S aureus strains, since they are unsusceptible to beta lactamases. Based on this fact, they are a preferable option for individuals with allergies towards penicillin. Notably, second-generation cephalosporins exhibit a more complex spectrum, which increases their resistance towards beta lactamases.
Macrolides are antibiotics which bind to the 50S ribosomal subunit of vulnerable organisms. In the long run, protein synthesis is inhibited. Notably, erythromycin is the commonest macrolide prescribed for patients allergic to penicillinand is known to act against penicillin-sensitive microbes. Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper

Tetracyclines act like macrolides in a bacteriostatic manner. However, they execute their antimicrobial effect of constraining protein synthesis through binding to the 30S subunit of the bacterial ribosome.
Differences between Viral and Bacterial Infections
Viral and bacterial infections have various similarities. Notably, they are both caused by microbes, which entail viruses and bacteria. Besides, Jones et al. (2014) posit that their modes of transmissions are similar, for instance, coughing and sneezing and contact with body fluids. However, bacteria are single but complex-celled microorganisms that exist in any environment. Most of the bacteria are not harmful, with only a few exceptions. Bacteria cause diseases like tuberculosis and urinary tract infections. Bacterial infections can be treated through the administration of antibacterial drugs (Jones et al., 2014). On the contrary, viral infections are caused by viruses, which are capsules containing genetic material: either DNA, or RNA. Viral infections include AIDS, influenza and chicken pox. Viral diseases are treated through administration of antivirals.

Reason for Proper Diagnosis of Viral and Bacterial Infection for Treatment

Clinician ought to ensure precision in their diagnosis processes to warrant effective and error-free drug prescription. Mostly, people confuse between viral and bacterial infections, and end up prescribing antibiotics for the former. Prescription of antibacterial for viral infection does not lead to recovery (Smits, Bouter, de Vos, Borody, & Nieuwdorp, 2013). Instead, the body develops resistance towards antibacterial drugs, leading to their ineffectiveness when required. Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper


Human beings suffer from diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Bacteria are single-celled microbes which are generally harmless except for a few. However, viruses entail capsules made up of DNA or RNA. Healthcare providers ought to ascertain the cause of illness in the quest to prescribe antibacterial drugs or antivirals based on the findings.


Becker, D. E. (2013). Antimicrobial drugs. Anesthesia progress, 60(3), 111-123. doi: 10.2344/0003-3006-60.3.111

Jones, M. K., Watanabe, M., Zhu, S., Graves, C. L., Keyes, L. R., Grau, K. R., & Tibbetts, S. A. (2014). Enteric bacteria promote human and mouse norovirus infection of B cells. Science, 346(6210), 755-759. doi: 10.1126/science.1257147

Lyle, N. H., Pena, O. M., Boyd, J. H., & Hancock, R. E. (2014). Barriers to the effective treatment of sepsis: Antimicrobial agents, sepsis definitions, and host‐directed therapies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1323(1), 101-114.

Smits, L. P., Bouter, K. E., de Vos, W. M., Borody, T. J., & Nieuwdorp, M. (2013). Therapeutic potential of fecal microbiota transplantation. Gastroenterology, 145(5), 946-953.

Sweeney, T. E., Wong, H. R., & Khatri, P. (2016). Robust classification of bacterial and viral infections via integrated host gene expression diagnostics. Science translational medicine, 8(346), 346ra91-346ra91. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf7165

Antimicrobial Agents Discussion Paper

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