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Antimicrobials, including antibiotics, are a class of medications developed to combat microbial infections and the diseases they cause. Penicillin, the first of the antibiotic compounds to be widely used, was introduced in the 1940s and rapidly became a "wonder drug" which saved literally millions of lives. Along with other antimicrobials, this revolutionized modern medicine, decreasing mortality and morbidity caused by bacterial infections.
However, for many antimicrobials, the development of resistance in several pathogenic bacteria now limits their effectiveness. In some cases the situation has become alarming, with the emergence of pathogenic strains that show multiple resistance to a broad range of antibiotics.
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