Unit 1 - Antibiotics

This GCSE Biology quiz takes a look at one of our most helpful of medicines - the antibiotics. They have helped us to defeat several infections which once claimed many thousands of lives.

Antibiotics are medicines that have helped to control infections since the middle of the twentieth century. The first of the antibiotics discovered and produced was penicillin. This was discovered accidentally in 1928 by Alexander Fleming but he did not have the equipment or skills to produce it in useful amounts. It was not until the mid 20th Century that penicillin took its place amongst other medicines. A method for producing penicillin was perfected in the early 1940s and before the end of the Second World War, millions of doses were being shipped out to stop injured soldiers dying from infected wounds.

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There are now many other antibiotics in use. These are used to target specific types of bacteria and can be much more effective than penicillin. One of the downsides of using antibiotics is that resistant strains of bacteria can arise. In order to combat these resistant bacteria, scientists are constantly seeking and developing new antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics and patients not taking the full course prescribed have both contributed to this ever increasing issue. In UK hospitals, MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is a problem because it is resistant to most antibiotics. Good hygiene is the key to controlling MRSA as it is easily killed on skin using soap and water. On hard surfaces like floors, walls and tables, bleach can be used.

See how much you remember from your classes about antibiotics and how they can help us to fight infections by playing this quiz.

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  1. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and which other condition?
    Some people believe that the MMR vaccination does more harm than the disieases it protects against
  2. What name is given to sterile handling techniques in microbiology?
    Aseptic techniques ensure that unwanted bacteria are less likely to be cultured by accident
  3. Antibiotics are not effective against which of the following?
    Only special anti-viral drugs are effective against viruses
  4. MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to what?
    MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  5. Bacteria in schools are usually cultured at or below which of the following temperatures?
    Culturing bacteria at higher temperatures, especially at or near to body temperature, could lead to the growth of human pathogens. Incubating the petri dishes at this temperature or below reduces the risk. Some schools reduce the risk further by incubating bacteria at room temperature which is usually 20 degrees C or below
  6. Release of which substance from pathogens makes us feel ill?
    Toxin is another word for a poisonous substance
  7. What do white blood cells use to protect us against pathogens?
    White blood cells (leucocytes) protect us in a variety of ways including the release of antitoxins and antibodies
  8. Mutation of bacteria can lead to new strains of bacteria which are...
    Mutation in bacteria occurs over short timescales as they reproduce rapidly
  9. What does a pathogen cause?
    They are things like bacteria, viruses and single celled organisms
  10. What is agar used for in microbiology?
    It is a gel that is obtained from certain red coloured algae

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