Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Virus and Antibiotics
Name: Tiawood
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: PA
Country: United States
Date: June 2006


Question:
Why don't antibiotics work on a virus?



Replies:
Viruses and bacteria are completely different structurally. Their molecular structure and protein structure are different as well as their mechanisms of infection. Antibiotics have specific components that targets bacterial structure and function. Because viruses are so different, antibiotics have no effect on them.

Saundra Sample, D.V.M.


Antibiotics like penicillin and it's many derivatives block the synthesis of bacterial cells walls. Streptomycin interferes with protein synthese by binding to bacterial ribosomes. Since viruses contain neither cell walls nor ribosomes, they are immune to the action of these antibiotics.

Ron Baker, Ph.D



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory