An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria and is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections. Antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of such infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza; drugs which inhibit viruses are termed antiviral drugs or antivirals rather than antibiotics. Sometimes, the term antibiotic which means "opposing life", based on Greek roots, (ἀντι-) anti: "against" and (βίος-) biotic: "life", is broadly used to refer to any substance used against microbes, but in the usual medical usage, antibiotics (such as penicillin) are those produced naturally (by one microorganism fighting another), whereas nonantibiotic antibacterials (such as sulfonamides and antiseptics) are fully synthetic. However, both classes have the same goal of killing or preventing the growth of microorganisms, and both are included in antimicrobial chemotherapy. "Antibacterials" include antiseptic drugs, antibacterial soaps, and chemical disinfectants, whereas antibiotics are an important class of antibacterials used more specifically in medicine and sometimes in livestock feed. There's evidence of antibiotic use since ancient times. Many civilizations used topical application of mouldy bread, with many references to its beneficial effects arising from ancient Egypt, China, Serbia, Greece and Rome. The first person to directly document the use of moulds to treat infections was John Parkinson (1567–1650). Antibiotics truly revolutionized medicine in the 20th century. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) discovered modern day penicillin in 1928. After realizing the great potential there was in penicillin, Fleming pursued the challenge of how to market it and translate it to commercial use. With help from other biochemists, penicillin was finally available for widespread use. This was significantly beneficial during wartime. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for resistance to begin. Effectiveness and easy access have also led to their overuse and some bacteria have developed resistance. This has led to widespread problems, and the World Health Organization has classified antimicrobial resistance as a "serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country".
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