Antibiotic resistance continues to be a global threat to healthcare. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the planet is heading toward a post-antibiotic era where common infections are killers, unless urgent, coordinated action is taken. These are infections that have been treatable for decades.
A new citizen’s science platform hopes to be doing its bit to help with the battle against the bugs by developing a small home lab that anyone can use.Post/Biotics is a pop-up lab and testing kit that will allow people to test locally available plants, vegetables, fruits and fungi (such as those in your backyard) for their antibiotic potential. After all, most of today’s antibiotics have been developed from natural sources and the next antibiotics could be found anywhere.
Could the World’s Next Antibiotic be in Your Backyard?
Participants can test samples of anything they find in their local areas, and if it has any antibiotic problems the kit will change color. The next step is to send the results, including a photo and a GPS location to an online database, which alerts researchers if there is something of interest. The scientists may then ask for samples.
A Win-Win Situation
In this way, an open-source library of potential antimicrobials will be established. Scientists benefit by having a bigger research base, participants get to learn how to conduct microbiology experiments and we all win if new antibiotics are discovered.
The testing kit is currently in its alpha testing phase, and for more information, click on this link.