An ambitious new project wants to combat antibiotic resistance by getting you to run experiments at home to help identify new antibiotics.
Antibiotics have been a critical part of modern medicine for decades now, saving tens of thousands of lives. Unfortunately, their use, and in some cases overuse, has meant that many strains of bacteria have become resistant; or in other words, they have become much more difficult to kill. The US Center for Disease Control suggests that in recent years, more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths can be attributed to antibiotic resistance.
The Iliad Project wants to speed up the discovery of antibacterial drugs. Billing itself as the world’s first massively multi-scientist open experiment (MMOE), the project (www.the-iliad.org) is running a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo to create science kits that can be shipped out to homes around the world. The kits contain things like gloves, mortars and pestles for grinding up samples, agar plates, pipettes, and of course, culture tubes. Instructions for how to run an experiment will be included in the kit.
The project is the work of Dr. Josiah Zayner, a blue-haired biophysics expert and NASA Synthetic Biology Fellow, and Dr. Mark Opal, a neurobiologist specializing in drug development; The Iliad is the International Laboratory for the Identification of Antibacterial Drugs.
The Indiegogo campaign goal is $42,000; you can click this link to see the campaign; the link above will eventually be repointed to the project once the funding phase is complete. You can obtain a basic kit for as little as $42, and a super kit for $105. If you simply wish to donate, rather than participate, there are options for that too.