Selective antimicrobials

Examples of selective agents include antibiotic and antifungal drugs intended for systemic use. Such compounds interact with components found only in the target microorganism. If the target of a drug isn't expressed in a particular microorganism or if the target has become altered, the drug will not exert an effect on that organism.

Some example agents and their targets are summarised in the table below:

Table with 6 rows and four columns called: “Agent”, “Type of antimicrobial”, “Organism targeted”, and “Toxic mechanism”. First agent, penicillin, is an antibiotic targeting gram-positive bacteria that inactivates key transpeptidase enzyme in the cell wall. Second agent, clindamycin, is an antibiotic targeting most bacteria that interferes with protein translation by binding to the ribosome. Third agent, metronidazole, is an antibiotic or antifungal targeting many bacteria and fungi that causes irreparable DNA damage when activated in microbial cells. Fourth agent, mebendazole, is an antihelminthic targeting parasitic pinworms that binds key cytoskeletal enzyme preventing worm growth and replication. Last agent, acyclovir, is an antiviral targeting herpes virus that inhibits viral DNa synthesis and prevents replication.