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A Brief Overview of Classes of Antibiotics
When we’re suffering from a bacterial infection, a trip to the doctors to be prescribed antibiotics is commonplace. However, there are a wide range of antibiotics available, and they vary both in their usage and their mechanism of action. This graphic summarises the major classes, and also gives a brief insight into the manner in which they combat bacterial infections; we’ll also consider each of the groups in turn, as well as bacterial resistance to each.
Bacteria themselves can be divided into two broad classes – Gram-positive and Gram-negative. The classes derive these names from the Gram test, which involves the addition of a violet dye to the bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria retain the colour of the dye, whilst Gram-negative bacteria do not, and are instead coloured red or pink. Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant to antibodies and antibiotics than Gram-positive bacteria, because they have a largely impermeable cell wall. The bacteria responsible for MRSA and acne are examples of Gram-positive bacteria, whilst those responsible for Lyme disease and pneumonia are examples of Gram-negative bacteria.