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.

  1. 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.

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Similarly, most live and dead vaccines are produced from bacteria.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.