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Timeline of the discovery, introduction and observed resistance of antibiotics
Antibiotic class; exampleYear of discoveryYear of introductionYear resistance observedMechanism of actionActivity or target species
Sulfadrugs; prontosil 1932 1936 1942 Inhibition of dihydropteroate synthetase Gram-positive bacteria
β-lactams; penicillin 1928 1938 1945 Inhibition of cell wall biosynthesis Broad-spectrum activity
Aminoglycosides; streptomycin 1943 1946 1946 Binding of 30S ribosomal subunit Broad-spectrum activity
Chloramphenicols; chloramphenicol 1946 1948 1950 Binding of 50S ribosomal subunit Broad-spectrum activity
Macrolides; erythromycin 1948 1951 1955 Binding of 50S ribosomal subunit Broad-spectrum activity
Tetracyclines; chlortetracycline 1944 1952 1950 Binding of 30S ribosomal subunit Broad-spectrum activity
Rifamycins; rifampicin 1957 1958 1962 Binding of RNA polymerase β-subunit Gram-positive bacteria
Glycopeptides; vancomycin 1953 1958 1960 Inhibition of cell wall biosynthesis Gram-positive bacteria
Quinolones; ciprofloxacin 1961 1968 1968 Inhibition of DNA synthesis Broad-spectrum activity
Streptogramins; streptogramin B 1963 1998 1964 Binding of 50S ribosomal subunit Gram-positive bacteria
Oxazolidinones; linezolid 1955 2000 2001 Binding of 50S ribosomal subunit Gram-positive bacteria
Lipopetides; daptomycin 1986 2003 1987 Depolarization of cell membrane Gram-positive bacteria
Fidaxomicin (targeting Clostridium difficile) 1948 2011 1977 Inhibition of RNA polymerase Gram-positive bacteria
Diarylquinolines; bedaquiline 1997 2012 2006 Inhibition of F1FO-ATPase Narrow-spectrum activity (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)

Reprinted by permission from Springer, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (https://www.nature.com/nrd/), Platforms for antibiotic discovery, Kim Lewis, copyright 2013