This GCSE Biology quiz takes a look at one of our most helpful of medicines - the antibiotics. They have helped us to defeat several infections which once claimed many thousands of lives.
Antibiotics are medicines that have helped to control infections since the middle of the twentieth century. The first of the antibiotics discovered and produced was penicillin. This was discovered accidentally in 1928 by Alexander Fleming but he did not have the equipment or skills to produce it in useful amounts. It was not until the mid 20th Century that penicillin took its place amongst other medicines. A method for producing penicillin was perfected in the early 1940s and before the end of the Second World War, millions of doses were being shipped out to stop injured soldiers dying from infected wounds.
There are now many other antibiotics in use. These are used to target specific types of bacteria and can be much more effective than penicillin. One of the downsides of using antibiotics is that resistant strains of bacteria can arise. In order to combat these resistant bacteria, scientists are constantly seeking and developing new antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics and patients not taking the full course prescribed have both contributed to this ever increasing issue. In UK hospitals, MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is a problem because it is resistant to most antibiotics. Good hygiene is the key to controlling MRSA as it is easily killed on skin using soap and water. On hard surfaces like floors, walls and tables, bleach can be used.
See how much you remember from your classes about antibiotics and how they can help us to fight infections by playing this quiz.