The field of medicine known as medical microbiology, or more specifically, the broad subset of microbiology that is used in medicine, is concerned with the prevention, identification, and treatment of infectious diseases. This branch of science also investigates potential clinical uses of microorganisms for the enhancement of health. Infectious diseases are brought on by microorganisms of four different types: bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and a particular infectious protein known as prion.
A medical microbiologist investigates the traits of pathogens, their means of transmission, their modes of infection, and their growth mechanisms. A bachelor’s degree is often required for employment as a clinical or medical microbiologist in a hospital or medical research facility, while some nations also demand a master’s degree in microbiology and a doctorate in one of the life sciences (such as biochemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, genetics, etc.).
Medical microbiologists frequently act as consultants for doctors, identifying pathogens and recommending treatments. This information can be used to create effective treatments. Other activities include identifying the population’s possible health risks, monitoring the emergence of potentially harmful or resistant microbial strains, educating the general public, and promoting healthy lifestyles. Additionally, they could aid in the control or averting of epidemics and disease outbreaks.
Some medical microbiologists concentrate on researching typical, non-pathogenic species to determine whether their traits can be used to develop antibiotics or other medications. Medical microbiologists look at other types of microbial pathology as well. Medical microbiology includes a significant amount of epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in populations. This is true even though the clinical aspect of the field primarily focuses on the presence and growth of microbial infections in individuals, their effects on the human body, and the methods of treating those infections.
Public health microbiology and clinical microbiology exist on a continuum in reality, but in this sense of applied science, the entire field can be conceptually divided into academic and clinical sub-specialties, just as the state-of-the-art in clinical laboratories depends on ongoing advancements in academic medicine and research laboratories.
History of Medical Microbiology
The first person to use a microscope to observe microorganisms was Anton van Leeuwenhoek. Using a single-lens microscope of his creation, Anton van Leeuwenhoek examined bacteria and other microbes in 1676.
Edward Jenner created a technique in 1796 to effectively immunize a kid against smallpox using cowpox. Today, vaccines are created using the same methods.
Following this, Louis Pasteur also created pasteurization for food preservation in 1857 along with vaccines for various diseases like rabies, avian cholera, and anthrax.
Joseph Lister is credited with developing antiseptic surgery in 1867. Post-operative infections were decreased, resulting in safer surgery for patients, by disinfecting the tools with diluted carbolic acid and utilizing it to clean wounds. Robert Koch made significant contributions to our understanding of infectious diseases between 1876 and 1884. One of the first scientists to concentrate on bacterial isolation in pure culture was. This led to the germ theory, which postulates that a particular microbe is to blame for a particular disease. Around this, he created a set of standards that have come to be known as Koch’s postulates.
The Gram stain represents a significant turning point in medical microbiology. The technique of coloring bacteria to make them more discernible under a microscope was created by Hans Christian Gram in 1884. These days, many people employ this method.
On syphilis-infected rabbits, Paul Ehrlich conducted a series of experiments in 1910 using various arsenic-based chemical combinations. Ehrlich later discovered that syphilis spirochetes were resistant to arsphenamine. Salvarsan, an arsphenamine, became commercially marketed in 1910.
The most widely used antibiotic chemical both then and now was created by Alexander Fleming in 1929 and is called penicillin.
Gerhard Domagk discovered Prontosil red’s non-toxic protection against pathogenic streptococci and staphylococci in mice in 1939. Domagk’s invention of the sulfa medication earned him the Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize.
The discovery of DNA sequencing in 1977 by Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger had a significant impact on the creation of vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic procedures. Recombinant DNA was used to generate synthetic insulin in 1979, and the first genetically modified vaccination against hepatitis B was developed in 1986. The first bacterial genome, Haemophilus influenza, was sequenced in 1995 by a group at The Institute for Genomic Research. The first eukaryotic genome was finished a short while afterward. This would be helpful for diagnostic methods.
A team from the Danish food giant Danisco was able to pinpoint the function of the CRIPR-Cas systems in 2007: phage adaptive immunity. The system’s ability to cause double-strand breaks was subsequently immediately discovered to have the potential to aid in genome editing. In July 2019, a patient with sickle cell disease became the first individual to receive CRISPR treatment for a hereditary illness.