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any of a variety of substances, usually obtained from microorganisms, that inhibit the growth of or destroy certain other microorganisms. Types of Antibiotics
..... Click the link for more information. resembling penicillinpenicillin,
any of a group of chemically similar substances obtained from molds of the genus Penicillium that were the first antibiotic agents to be used successfully in the treatment of bacterial infections in humans.
..... Click the link for more information. in the way it acts. It is derived from the bacterium Streptomyces orientalis, which was isolated from soil of India and Indonesia. Vancomycin destroys Gram-positive bacteria, especially staphylococci and enterococci (see Gram's stainGram's stain,
laboratory staining technique that distinguishes between two groups of bacteria by the identification of differences in the structure of their cell walls. The Gram stain, named after its developer, Danish bacteriologist Christian Gram, has become an important tool
..... Click the link for more information. ). It seems to function by inhibiting the formation of the bacterial cell wall, as does penicillin; it may also cause damage to the cell membrane. The drug is intensely irritating to tissues and is usually used only for infections where microorganisms are resistant to penicillin (see drug resistancedrug resistance,
condition in which infecting bacteria can resist the destructive effects of drugs such as antibiotics and sulfa drugs. Drug resistance has become a serious public health problem, since many disease-causing bacteria are no longer susceptible to previously
..... Click the link for more information. ). Vancomycin must be administered intravenously because it is not absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Mutant microorganisms resistant to vancomycin are rare.
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A complex antibiotic substance produced by Streptomyces orientalis; useful for treatment of severe staphylococcic infections.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.