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The History of Antimicrobial Drug Development and the Current Situation
Young Goo Song
Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Vol.44 Num.4 (p263~268)
Since development of the first antimicrobial agents in the 1940s, antimicrobial resistance has been an issue. Following the introduction of sulfonamides and penicillin, scientists discovered and developed a wide range of antimicrobials for treatment of bacterial diseases. Many new antimicrobials were discovered by systematic testing of soil microbes and many others were developed by chemical modification of existing agents. Discovery of new classes of antibacterial drugs slowed in the late 1960s. However, the speed with which bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, in contrast with the slow development of new drugs, has led some experts to warn of a "post-antibiotic era." Judicious use of currently available antibiotics, through efforts such as public campaigns for 'appropriate antibiotic use', may help to conserve their effectiveness. However, even if we improve these practices, development of resistant bacteria will continue to occur, and new and better drugs will be needed. Clearly, a combination of traditional successful methods and modern technology will be needed for discovery and development of new classes of antibacterial drugs. In addition, policies that encourage and facilitate development of new antimicrobial agents are also needed.
Keywords : Antimicrobial agents, Drug development, Discovery, Antimicrobial drug resistance, History