Antimicrobial Agents



Antimicrobialagents are very important components when it comes to treatment ofnumerous bacterial infections as they assist in prevention andkilling microbes’ growth such as fungi, bacteria, and protozoans.Before the discovery of these antimicrobial agents, most of thetreatments options for patients diagnosed with these bacterialinfections were very limited (Arcangelo &amp Peterson, 2013). Formost patients, treatment practices often led to amputation of bodyparts such as limbs, or even death. Currently, treatment options forthese bacterial infections have a typical more positive prognosis.

Becauseof the numerous infection types observed from the patients, it isimportant to be in a better position identifying and underlying thecause of infection, whether viral or bacterial before drug treatmentsare recommended. These aim at identifying whether or not a chosenantimicrobial agent would be most appropriate and the one to targetthe infection (Scourfield et al., 2012). The paper therefore aims atdescribing antimicrobial agents’ categories, differences betweenbacterial and viral infections, and to explain why proper bacterialand viral infection identification is important in choosing properantimicrobial agent.


Tobegin with, categories of antimicrobial agents are divided into thosethat are bactericidal (those that actively kill the bacteria) andbacteriostatic (those slowing down bacterial growth) (Arcangelo &ampPeterson, 2013). However, there are two other general ones that arecategorized based on microbes in a public setting and the ones donot. As for the former, most of the antimicrobial agents are usedclinically (bactericidal), which includes aminoglycosides,cephalosporin, and metronidazole. Of importance is to note that whileit may be rational to prefer bacterial agents over the bacteriostaticagents, shows superiority in terms of the ability to mount a seriousimmunity response.

Antimicrobialagents are also categorized as concentration dependent andtime-dependent. Mayer &amp Krakower (2012) observed that a clinicalefficacy regarding concentration-dependent antimicrobial agents forexample, aminoglycosides and fluoroquinolones. This is dependent onthe area under serum concentration curve and peak serumconcentration. The time dependent agents’ clinical efficacy forexample, cephalosporin and penicillin by contrast is more dependentonly on application in real life. Concentration versus time-dependentkilling categorization of antimicrobial agents is based on theirmechanism of action. An example is an anti-gram positiveantimicrobial agent, which is an efficacy of the penicillin relatedto time percentage above what Laureate Education (2012) terms as“minimum inhibitory concentration.”

Differencesbetween Viral and Bacterial Infections

Virusescause viral infections while bacteria cause bacterial infections.Perhaps of important distinction is that the antibacterial agents arenot as effective in killing viruses as it does to killing bacteria.Both of them have some similarities, and according to Krummenacher etal. (2011), the two infections are as a result of microbes producedin the body, spread through coughs, and sneezes at the same timethrough contact with food, animals, people, and water. Thedifferences include reactions by the body during infections.Scourfield et al. (2012) observed that virally-caused coughs andcolds have symptoms, which includes sniffles, throat, achiness, andcoughs. On the other hand, bacterial infections focus more on an areaof misery, for example having a painful ear and a severe sore throat.

Viralinfections last a short time, while illnesses as a result ofbacterial infection lasting more than a week. Of importantdistinction is that the two react different to antibiotic drugs. Theantibiotic drugs often kill bacteria and are not as effective onviruses. The manner in which the body reacts to both viral andbacterial infections is different. Viral infections, according toMayer &amp Krakower (2012), pose considerable danger to the immunesystem of a person’s body since they are able to hide inside thecells. It thus makes it a challenge for antibiotics to trace them.The body differently to bacteria and any bacterial infection is metwith an increase in blood flow and sending of cells to attack andkill bacteria from the immune system.

Reasonsfor Selection of Proper Antimicrobial Agent

Properidentification of both bacterial and viral infections is important infinding a proper antimicrobial agent. It is useless to useantibiotics in the treatment of viral infections. It is thusimportant to identify viral infection because viruses are simple,which means they use their host cells are used to carry out theiractivities (Laureate Education, 2012). It is also essential to notethat preferred antimicrobial agents work differently compared toantibiotics, by simply interfering with the functioning of viralenzymes. It is also important to note that antimicrobial agents onlywork effectively against few virally-caused diseases, which includeshepatitis B and C, HIV, and herpes (Krummenacher et al., 2011). Itshould also be noted that interferon, a naturally-occurring protein,should not be used in the production of antimicrobial agents to treatviral infections.

Identificationof bacterial infection revolves around better understanding of howbacteria move around the body. Arcangelo &amp Peterson (2013) notedthat most of the bacteria, a part from cocci variety, lash aroundwith the use of a tail (flagellate). Finding a proper antimicrobialagent requires better understanding in that during the rightcondition, bacteria high-reproduces. A near-perfect antimicrobialagent should be able to handle the high rate of reproduction duringthese conditions (Arcangelo &amp Peterson, 2013). During unfavorableconditions, an antimicrobial agent should also be able to handle thetough coating. These kinds of hibernating bacteria are known asspores. The spores are able to get rid of active bacteria due to theouter coating, and thus antimicrobial agents should be able to handleit.


Thepaper defined antimicrobial agents as important components thatrevolve around treatment of a number of bacterial and viralinfections since they help in the control of growth of microbes.Failure to carry out treatment may result in other treatmentpractices for instance the amputation of body parts, which may resultto death. Numerous categories were identified based on their abilityto kill microbial, time taken to kill them, as concentrationdependent and time-dependent antimicrobial agents, and theirefficacy. It was noted that antimicrobial agents should have theability to recognize and act on both the bacterial and viralinfections without having side effects. Viral and bacterialinfections are presented with a number of differences, which aredetermined by their mode of action, time taken to act, and theirability to the dangers it present to the immune system of a person.This therefore leads to the identification of reasons to properlyselect the right antimicrobial agent to act upon the specificity ofthe disease.


Arcangelo,V. P., &amp Peterson, A. M. (Eds.). (2013). Pharmacotherapeuticsfor advanced practice: A practical approach(3rd ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins. pp. 96–117

Krummenacher,I., Cavassini, M., Bugnon, O., &amp Schneider, M. (2011). Aninterdisciplinary HIV-adherence program combining motivationalinterviewing and electronic antiretroviral drug monitoring.AIDS Care, 23(5), 550–561.

LaureateEducation, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Antimicrobials.Baltimore, MD: Author.

Mayer,K. H., &amp Krakower, D. (2012). Antiretroviralmedication and HIV prevention: New steps forward and New Questions.Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(4), 312–314. Scourfield, A.,Waters, L., &amp Nelson, M. (2011). Drugcombinations for HIV: What`s new?Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, 9(11), 1001–1011