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Staph. aureus developed resistance to penicillin very quickly but, in the
beginning this mattered little because there was the rapid development of a
number of new antibiotics. However, by the late 1950's, there was great concern,
only one antibiotic, vancomycin was left (a toxic and most unpleasant drug). But
then the chemists made a great breakthrough; they cracked the mechanism of
resistance to penicillin and developed Methicillin, the first beta-lactamase
And so concern about antibiotic resistance faded until the late 1970's and early 1980's when strains of Staph. aureus resistant to Methicillin emerged. These strains were also resistant to all other drugs with the exception of vancomycin.
A final observation to make from this slide is that the development of new antibiotics has slowed, especially in the last 20 years.