Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Antibiotics in the 21st century: a fight against a familiar foe

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-04, 12:40 authored by Stephanie Tung

Antibiotics form the cornerstone of treatment against infectious disease and have helped to drastically reduce mortality rates since the turn of the twentieth century. Through the years, antibiotic development has progressed through different phases of discovery techniques, but has now reached a dipping point in its productivity for a multitude of reasons, both scientific and financial. Furthermore, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens to undo all the progress achieved by these miraculous drugs that were discovered, no less, from the culture of other soil microorganisms. Recent strides in technology and legislation hope to drive resurgence in the field. This is exemplified by teixobactin, a promising new antimicrobial compound, which has been hailed as one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of 2015. This article explores the historical journey of antibiotic discovery, the issues surrounding AMR, the challenges faced by antibiotic research and development (R&D), and the new and innovative strategies being employed to overcome these hurdles. 



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Published Citation

Tung S. Antibiotics in the 21st century: a fight against a familiar foe. RCSIsmj. 2016;9(1):73-79

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)