A new survey has named antibiotics as the most important medical development of the past 50 years.
After antibiotics, vaccination was named the second most important medical development in the poll of more than 650 doctors.
This was followed by the use of CT and MRI scans to help detect disease and the development in Edinburgh of an effective treatment for TB.
The survey was carried ahead of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh”s (RCPE) 50th St Andrew”s Day Festival Symposium.
Although it was discovered 1928, but it was not until the 1960s that antibiotics really took off.
Used to treat diseases caused by bacteria, such as TB, syphilis and pneumonia, the drugs have led to a dramatic decrease in death rates and serious illnesses.
But antibiotics have also had an unwanted side effect, with the emergence of hospital infections such as MRSA, which is resistant to the main antibiotics, and Clostridium difficile, which can be sparked by inappropriate use of the drugs.
“From the results of this survey it is clear that doctors throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally believe the most important developments to be in relation to the availability of effective antibiotics and vaccination,” the Scotsman quoted Neil Dewhurst, of the RCPE, as saying.
“While agreeing with this point, it is also vital that doctors and patients are aware of the dangers of over-using antibiotics and that antibiotics are prescribed safely and wisely in order to reduce the risk of drug resistance and problems like MRSA and C. difficult,” he said.