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Throw on Your Citizen Scientist Coat and Help Identify New Antibiotics

Rodrigo Mejia

Over 80 years ago, Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered the bacteria-fighting power of penicillin when cleaning a set of petri dishes. His chance finding paved the way for the development of antibiotics and modern medicine.
Nowadays, the overprescription of antibiotics has reduced their effectiveness and research into more robust medicines are often a cost-prohibitive affair for big pharmaceutical companies.
In response, biophysicist Josiah Zayner and neurobiologist Mark Opal are asking citizen scientists to scour their local environments in search of new antibiotics and pick up where big pharma has left off.
Their crowdsourced project, called The International Laboratory for the Identification of New Drugs ("The ILLIAD Project"), is seeking funding by selling testing kits, which give sponsors the ability to test samples found in nearby plants and insects against a strain of non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria. A collaboration of science minds will then check promising findings.

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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This is amazing. How do citizen scientists actually test the effectiveness of the antibiotics themselves? Do they also test people on antibiotics?