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An antimicrobial agent (generally a drug or chemical) is capable of destroying or slowing disease-bearing microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, protozoa, and more).

It should be noted that the overuse of antimicrobial substances has caused many microbes to build up a tolerance to these substances, creating classes of microbes that are far more hardy than anything we've ever seen before. Once a microbe becomes resistant, it spreads quickly. Drug-resistant virii and bacteria are one of the most serious health epidemics the world is facing today, and this is due, in part, to the proliferation and irresponsible overuse of antimicrobial and antibacterial substances.