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Microbiology is defined as the branch of science that deals with microbes, their characteristics and applications. It can also be extended to include the aspects of how the body deals with microbes, how to manipulate them for our benefit. Doing so has contributed immensely to human life in the form of various daily needs. The knowledge of microbes and its characteristics are used in healthcare for the prevention and treatment of many diseases, it is used for diagnosis and it is used in sterilization procedures and drug production. Furthermore, microbiology has been a great help in eradicating dangerous epidemics like rabies, smallpox and other highly infectious diseases.
Importance of Medical Microbiology
Microbiology is a cornerstone in the medical field. Microbiology deals with
- Study of microbial diseases: This deals with which of the micro-organisms causes diseases. These microbes can be protozoa, bacterial, viral, fungal etc. It also deals with how these microbes operate their mechanisms and also the pathology of the illness itself.
- Diagnosis of the disease: This deals with the diagnosis of the disease-causing microbe and how to properly combat it using the right drug and how to combat the infection properly. This diagnosis includes methods like microscopic observations, western-blot, etc.
Importance of Microbiology In Pharmacy
The pharmaceutical industry uses microbiology extensively.
- There are some substances that are used in medicine that are exclusively obtained from microbial cultures. These substances are used in medicines like antibiotics, enzymes, insulin, vitamins etc.
For example, people suffering from diabetes were initially given insulin that was derived from animals. But due to the massive demand and other compatibility problems since it was not obtained from a human source a new source had to be found. It was then that the rDNA technique was employed using the E.coli bacteria which was able to produce large amounts of human insulin in a safe manner.
Similarly, most live and dead vaccines are produced from bacteria.
- For sterilization of manufactured drugs:
All manufactured drugs have an expiry date which the date till when the drug is active and hence effective. Presence of microbes can enhance the degradation of the drug and cause new infections to the patient when it is administered. Hence, these drugs need to be kept away from any organisms that affect the quality of the drug. For this reason, sterilization is employed which destroys all kinds of microorganisms.
- New drug discovery:
As more and more research is being done, new drugs are being come up with for complex conditions. Since most drugs are derived from microbes, more research being done to look at micro-organisms for new drugs.
The human body contains a large quantity of many different microbes, which play a fundamental role when it comes to human health.
Even though microbes have a negative effect on the body, it also has benefits and can help combat diseases and bad levels of bacteria, when studied and configured and treated accordingly. It is all thanks to microbiologists.
Microbes exist in the human body, as well as play a very significant role in the health of humans.
When it comes to specifying microbes, every individual has a variety of different microbes within their bodies. It can be found everywhere from the skin, oral and nasal cavity, reproductive organs and the gut.
Microbes can be either commensal or mutualistic. Commensal microbes are often found in humans, while mutualistic ones are found in relation to the host.
The interactions of microbes in the body allow humans to maintain their health, as well as grow effectively.
The Roles of Microbes to Aid in Health
To stay healthy, humans need microbes to survive. There are approximately 100 trillion cells in the average human’s body, but that doesn’t mean they are human cells whatsoever.
These cells consist of viruses, fungi and other organisms which are specified as microbes. Human microbiomes are a point of genetic diversity, where two human microbiomes, on the other hand, are the source of genetic diversity.
Microbiomes play a very important role in the human body and are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. It can also best be described as a functional entity, which has a more significant effect on the metabolism and overall, aids in the maintenance of the human body’s health.
Microbes are considerably the oldest form of life that has been found on earth and have been around for 3.5 billion years.
According to scientific research, these microbes have even developed with humans over the past six million years and continues to change over time to this very day.
Microbes are needed in the body to ensure it stays healthy. When it comes to the human host, as well as its microbial flora, it creates a complex ecosystem that acts as an example of reciprocal adaption.
Microbes have been responsible for the resistance to colonisation within the body, by means of exogenous pathogenic organisms and when in contact with the host, is responsible for infections caused in our immune system daily. These are responsible for flu, colds and severe infections in the human body.
Since microbes have a larger effect on the skin, gut, reproductive organs and nasal, as well as oral cavity, it is understandable why it aids in fighting infections in bacteria, overall protecting our immune system. It is necessary to maintain proper health in all the points of our body, which exterior microbes meet interior microbes.
There are a lot of jobs out there that are depended on knowing about microbes and whether they are pathogenic or benign. Many tricky situations can be solved by bringing microbiology into the picture. Industries employ microbiologists for this very reason. Here are some of the applications of microbiology with respect to health.
- Medical Care
The healthcare industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and microbiology is an essential part of the entire industry. Just in this industry, there are plenty of health care professionals whose job it is to think about microbes on a daily basis. They include nurses and doctors, Pharmacists, Clinical Microbiologists, Obstetricians and midwives, Public health officials.
- Dental Care
The oral cavity or the mouth has the largest microbial diversity of any site in the human body. There are several hundred species of bacteria living in your mouth. So a big part of dentistry is to know about these microbes.
- Veterinary Care
A veterinarian is a special type of doctor whose job it is to keep pets, livestock and other animals healthy. The type of microbiology used in veterinary medicine is similar to human medicine, just that the pathogens involved have different names.
Many times when a pet gets sick with an unknown disease, the doctor would turn to use fundamental microbiology to figure out if the cause is microbial in nature. Microscopy, Gram staining of body fluids and stool and culturing swabs are some of the tests that veterinarians employ.
- Monitoring the Environment:
Other than the health of humans and animals, microbiology can also be employed to check the health of our environment. National environment monitoring programs, like the U.S. Geological Survey, use microbiology to affect environmental conservation and for other basic research. The applications of microbiology with respect to the environment include:
- Monitoring how climate change is affecting the population of microbes
- Wildlife conservation
- Studying how micro-organisms interact with their environments.
- Studying how micro-organisms interact with non-living things in their environment.
- Combining all of these activities to get the big picture of the overall ecosystem and its functioning.
- Making Plants healthier
Farmers and horticulturists use microbiology almost every day to keep their plant pathogens away from their plants. There are hundreds of species of microbes that infect plant tissue which ultimately causes the plant to die. Plants infected with microbial pathogens are less healthy, and usually, have blemishes and will generally die despite giving treatment.
Microbiologists have some of the most fascinating jobs in the world. Every day, they go to work and make a difference in the lives of individuals globally. They make a difference by ensuring the safety of the foods we find in our local retail store, prevent and treat diseases, as well as develop new technologies to track microbes in climate change and global warming.
These incredible healthcare professionals try to find a solution to many problems they’re faced with. Their job is to understand microbes and work accordingly. They can often be found working in labs, any research institute, in the industry of marine biology, universities, as well as industrial companies.
Some also tend to use their skills in means to provide technical support, support to regulatory and legal affairs related to microbiology, as well as marketing. They can also be found in business and communication environments and can even work in public relations or become journalists. The options are endless.
Microbiologists Impact on Healthcare
Becoming a microbiologist isn’t easy. You, first, need to be able to understand science, receive substantially good grades in school and most importantly, obtain a registered qualification in science.
Microbes are everywhere and are most commonly referred to as viruses that are responsible for causing colds and flu, as well as bacteria that cause health diseases, including meningitis and tuberculosis.
Microbes aren’t only bad for your health though. It can also aid in your health and fighting diseases, but only those that are specifically structured and used to create therapies to fight infections or illnesses.
To solve the problem caused by microbes, microbiologists also must use their abilities to understand them, as well as their effect on one’s body. By knowing this information, they are also able to use microbes for a good cause and treat diseases, as well as design technologies to improve one’s health.
These scientists thus help treat diseases, and that is why they are often recognised as either problem-solvers or labelled doctors, even though they’re not.
More Careers in Microbiology
Many microbiologists are needed in hospitals, as well as laboratories and are required to perform several tests on the body, especially when it comes to testing body tissue, monitor treatments or find diseases in your body, test blood, fluids and anything related to illness or bad bacteria in the body.
Microbiologists can also work as clinical scientists in universities, school laboratories and hospitals. Their work-scope most importantly includes providing scientific advice to medical doctors and staff.
Other microbiologists work on microbes that cause diseases, which includes tuberculosis and flu, in which the information found is used to improve treatments and prevent people from obtaining these conditions in the future, along with choosing the right medicines to treat it.
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