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Keeping up With the Bacteria

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© University of Luxembourg


SUPERVISOR

ACADEMIC SUPERVISOR


#1. Antibiotics don't work on...

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Antibiotics only work on bacteria that are susceptible to this specific type of antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses and funghi. To learn why, try answering the next questions.

#2. Why are antibiotics ineffective against viruses?

Viruses have a different structure and a different way of surviving than bacteria. Technically, they are not even alive. As the name suggests Anti-bio-tics attack living cells in different ways, for example by destroying their cell walls or by damaging the way they reproduce. As viruses don’t have cell walls (only a protective protein coat) or a reproductive system on their own (they make their host cells create new viruses), antibiotics are ineffective against them. But there are so called antiviral drugs that can target them.

#3. Why are antibiotics ineffective against funghi?

Funghi also have a different structure than bacteria. Their cells are much more similar to humans than bacteria. Thus, antibiotics don’t work on funghi. Fun fact: The first antibiotic used in medicine, penicillin, was produced by a funghus, Penicillium rubens.

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