Antimicrobial Therapy: Types of Antimicrobial Agents and Their Effects on Microorganisms

Table of Contents


Microbial infections can pose a severe threat to the life and health of a person. The critical task of healthcare professionals is to choose the most optimal medications that will fight the disease without exposing a patient to unnecessary harm. Very often, this task requires extensive research and testing. This paper will focus on different types of antimicrobial agents and their effects on microorganisms. Overall, it is essential for medical workers to identify the pathogen causing the disease because this step is critical for finding the antimicrobial agent that will best suit the needs of a patient.

Main body

While discussing the types of antimicrobial agents, one should first mention that there are different ways to classify these substances. Several criteria can be used to divide them into separate groups. For instance, researchers can examine these substances in terms of how they impact microorganisms. If this approach is applied, two types of antimicrobial agents can be distinguished, namely, microbicides and biostatics (Ficai & Grumezescu, 2017).

The agents of the first group kill microbes, while the agents representing the second group primarily stop the reproduction and growth of these organisms (Ficai & Grumezescu, 2017). It is also possible to distinguish such types of agents as DNA synthesis inhibitors, cell wall inhibitors, RNA synthesis inhibitors, and so forth (Nowak, Christensen, Mabry, Townsend, & Wells, 2018). Such a division is appropriate if one speaks about the way in which an agent influences the structure of microorganisms. The mode of action is significant; however, it is not the only criterion considered by researchers.

It is possible to apply a different method of classification that is often more relevant to the work of healthcare professionals. In particular, researchers can focus on the organisms that antimicrobial agents are supposed to destroy or inhibit. Therefore, they distinguish such types of agents as antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic substances (Barer & Irving, 2018). This classification suggests that there are various types of infections that occur due to different causal agents. Much attention should be given to viruses and bacteria since they have a dangerous effect on patients.

There are several critical distinctions between bacterial and viral infections; to a great extent, these distinctions can be attributed to the peculiarities of the organisms that cause the disease. Firstly, it should be mentioned that viruses require a living tissue to survive and reproduce. They have to attach themselves to the cells of the host to ensure their reproduction and transportation (Evans & Feldman, 2013). In their turn, bacteria can exist outside of the human body or any other host. While discussing infections, researchers also mention that viral infections can be easily diagnosed with the help of serological tests (Evans & Feldman, 2013).

These tests are not always useful for identifying bacterial infections (Evans & Feldman, 2013). Finally, viruses and bacteria have different structure; in particular, bacteria consist of a single cell while viruses can be viewed as an RNA or DNA genome enveloped in a protein coat (Russell, Hertz, & McMillan, 2013). Moreover, viruses are usually much smaller than bacteria (Russell et al., 2013). Therefore, one cannot use the same medications to neutralize these microorganisms.

The identification of viral and microbial infections is vital for the selection of the proper antimicrobial agent. It should be mentioned that pathogens may differ in terms of their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents. Some of them can develop immunity to drugs (Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, & Reinhold, 2017). The failure to identify a pathogen can lead to the use of ineffective medications that will not help the patient in any way. Moreover, medical workers can lose valuable time.

As it has been said before, viruses and bacteria have different structures and modes of actions. Thus, healthcare workers should identify those drugs that can best neutralize a harmful microorganism. Finally, antimicrobial agents may have different side effects on a patient. For example, some of them can lead to strong allergic reactions that can also be dangerous (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Hence, it is important to select those drugs that will minimize the threat of infection without producing many negative impacts of a patient. The issues should affect the decision-making of physicians when they treat either viral or bacterial infections.


This discussion indicates that the choice of antimicrobial agents should be based on the proper identification of the pathogen; if this task is not adequately performed, the patient may be exposed to various threats. There are different types of antimicrobial agents; some of them are supposed to kill viruses while others target bacteria. One should also remember that bacterial and viral infections differ from one another.

In particular, they are caused by organisms that have different structures and modes of actions. In their turn, medical workers should first focus on the identification of the pathogen since this step is critical for selecting the best mode of treatment. If the pathogen is not accurately identified, there is an increased risk of various adverse outcomes like the failure to neutralize the infection or selection of those drugs that have dangerous side effects.


Arcangelo, V., Peterson, A., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (4th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Barer, M., & Irving, W. (Eds.). (2018). Medical microbiology E-book: A guide to microbial infections (19th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Evans, A., & Feldman, H. (Eds.). (2013). Bacterial infections of humans: Epidemiology and control (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Ficai, A., & Grumezescu, A. (Eds.). (2017). Nanostructures for antimicrobial therapy. New York, NY: Elsevier.

Nowak, A., Christensen, J., Mabry, T., Townsend, J., & Wells, M. (2018). Pediatric dentistry – E-book: Infancy through Adolescence (6th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Russell, P., Hertz, P., & McMillan, B. (2013). Biology: The dynamic science, volume 1(3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Place New Order
It's Free, Fast & Safe

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!