May 30, 2017 | Updated: 06:19 AM EDT

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Penicillin: Miracle Drug Turns Into Weak Antibacterial Due To Superbugs

Mar 01, 2017 06:19 PM EST

A sample of penicillin, one of the nominees for the greatest invention, is displayed at the Science Museum on November 4, 2009 in London, England.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Penicillin is considered as a "miracle drug" in eradicating infectious diseases, however, over the years, some bacteria has become resistant to the drug. Bacterial resistance nowadays has been a challenge in the medical world even discarding the ability of penicillin alone to treat infections.

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Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, a professor of bacteriology in London. According to Live Science, the discovery of the miracle drug was by accident. While Fleming was cleaning in his laboratory, he noticed some inhibition in a petri dish. The dish normally contains "Staphylococcus" bacteria and was contaminated by "Penicillium notatum", known fungi. Fleming concluded that the fungus is proven to kill the strains of the bacteria.

From the initial discovery, other scientists have developed the drug throughout the history. Nowadays there was already synthetically produced penicillin such as; amoxicillin, ampicillin, cloxacillin, and a lot more.

However due to drug misuse and improper compliance of antibiotic use: resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistant or "superbug" has emerged. Science Daily defined antibiotic resistance as the ability of any microorganism to tolerate or withstand the effect of anti-infective drugs. Improper diagnosis, unnecessary prescriptions, and use of antibiotics in livestock are also few of the contributing factors.

"Staphylococcus aureus" is one of the major resistant pathogens. This was the first bacterium in which penicillin resistance was discovered. The first drug of choice for the superbugs was methicillin but was later changed into oxacillin because of kidney toxicity. MRSA "Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus" was first reported in Britain. MRSA is found to be resistant in other antibiotics such as; tetracycline and erythromycin.

Vancomycin was the last choice of treatment during the emergence of MRSA. However, resistance with this antibacterial agent was again reported and was later called "Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus". The development of drugs has not come into an end to stop superbugs thus emergence of other drugs became available in 1990s; linezolid and oxazolidinone.

After the discovery of superbugs, the use of penicillin to fight bacterial infection has declined. But innovations have not stopped and as such combination products together with penicillin were formulated in order to intensify antibacterial activity. In the current time, penicillin still proves its importance and vitality in the medical field.