Microbial resistance

The Most Important Information on Microbial Resistance
What are Microbes?
Microbes (microscopic organisms) are small living things that are impossible to see without using special devices, such as a microscope. This term implies several organisms that may differ one from another dramatically. The following organisms are all considered to be microbes:

  •  Archaea;
  • Bacteria;
  • Fungi;
  • Viruses;
  • Protists;
  • Microscopic Plants;
  • Microscopic Animals.

The human body has all of these microbes, except for microscopic plants.

What Is Microbial Resistance?

Microbial resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of a microorganism, such as viruses, bacteria, and others to remain insensitive to antimicrobial treatment with antifungals, antibiotics, antimalarials, antivirals, anthelmintics, etc. Microbial resistance is quite a problem for people because it makes it hard to treat various infections and diseases caused by microbes. Microbial resistance does not allow using the standard treatment effectively.

Some microbes are quite easy to control, but some of them are really challenging. Below, you will find the list showing the microorganisms are the hardest to eradicate and those that are easier (#1 is the most difficult to kill microbes, and №11 is the easiest in control microorganisms):

  1. Prions (infectious agents composed of a protein material);
  2. Bacterial endospores (highly adaptive to their environment microorganisms that can survive the usual methods directed to destroying bacteria);
  3. Mycobacterium (it is a genus that includes pathogens able to cause severe diseases such as tuberculosis);
  4. Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas (the first one is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria, and the other one belongs to Gram-negative Gammaproteobacteria);
  5. Protozoan cysts (infectious form of some protozoan parasites);
  6. Protozoan trophozoites (also infectious form of some protozoan parasites that can be found in watery specimens);
  7. Most gram-negative bacteria (a group of bacteria that lose the crystal violet stain);
  8. Fungi and fungal spores (microorganisms like yeasts, molds, and mushrooms);
  9. Nonenveloped viruses (cell parasites without viral envelopes);
  10. Most gram-positive bacteria (bacteria that becomes purple after the Gram stain test);
  11. Enveloped viruses (viruses with envelopes).

The Differences between Antibiotic and Antimicrobial Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a major problem that humanity faces today, and that is why there are lots of sources of information providing insights on this problem. Sometimes people believe that antibiotic resistance and microbial resistance are the same.

If antibiotic resistance particularly means the resistance to antibiotics, microbial resistance means the resistance to various microbes, including fungi, parasites, viruses, and other organisms. Antimicrobial resistance has spread to various parts of the world, including Australia.

Since this condition is related to the longer period of treatment, the higher cost, and other problems, it really must be managed.

How Can Microbes Be Killed?

There are two basic agents used to control microbes, including bacteriocidal (disinfectants) and bacteriostatic (antiseptics) agents. The first ones will actually destroy vegetative cells and spores, and the other ones will slow or prevent the growth of microbes.

The effectiveness of methods used to control the number of microbes depends on different factors, including the following:

  • The number of bacteria is one of the most important factors. The more organisms are presented, then harder to control them;
  • Environmental factors, including pH, temperature, etc.;
  • The concentration or dosage of the chosen agent. Concentrated amount will work faster;
  • The presence of an inhibitory matter may affect the method that is used;
  • Types of microbes (some are harder to kill, some are easier).

The cell wall structure of bacteria can also be the cause of resistance, for instance, gram-negative cells are more resistant than gram-positive cells. Mycobacterium tuberculosis and some other microbes are really hard to eradicate.

Why Is Microbial Resistance Such a Major Problem?

Microbial resistance is a global problem today because it threats people’s ability to treat infectious diseases, which results in the long period of treatment, disability, or even death.

Without the use of highly effective antimicrobial medications that are able to prevent or treat infections, many medical procedures such as cancer chemotherapy and organ transplantation become highly risky.

This problem can eventually lead to the inability to treat even simple infections. Not only does microbial resistance threat out health, but also our lives.

How to Manage Microbial Resistance?

The following methods should be used in order to manage this problem:

  • Since it is a global problem, it is important to draw international attention and initiate cooperation between nongovernmental organizations, governments, professional groups, and international agencies aiming at solving this problem;
  • It is important to establish new networks that control the use of antimicrobial solutions;
  • The production and marketing of counterfeit antimicrobials should be prevented;
  • New medications and vaccines should be developed;
  • It is important to increase the awareness of people and let them know that the overuse of antimicrobials may lead to negative consequences.

The following actions should be taken in order to prevent the occurrence of various infections that require the use of antimicrobial medicines:

  • Establishing the committee responsible for preventing and controlling infections;
  • Supporting hand hygiene practices;
  • Correct diagnosis and the right treatment of infection;
  • The use of antimicrobials only when it is really needed;
  • Controlling the use of antibiotics;
  • Improving the quality of antimicrobials.


Preventing antimicrobial resistance requires a complex of methods. It is a major problem that has to be solved as soon as possible. One of the best things that people can do is to prevent the occurrence of infections so that the use of antimicrobial medications could be avoided. It is extremely important to diagnose infections correctly using the special tests or other methods so that they use of any antimicrobial drugs could be based on facts.

This can prevent overuse of the agents significantly. It is important to support the awareness of people about the problem so that every person could contribute to solving this problem. Antimicrobial resistance requires drawing attention from governments and different specializing organizations.