The coming cost of antimicrobial resistance is 10 million deaths per annum by 2050. This is estimated to cost about 3% of the global GDP. Antibiotic resistance is growing faster than pharmaceutical companies are finding new ones.
Post/Biotics is a platform that facilitates finding new antibiotics by integrating citizen scientists in the process of identifying natural substances with antimicrobial properties.
Most known antibiotics are developed from natural extracts, implying a potential new antibiotic could be anywhere. Post/Biotics distributes empirical research to the public by creating a platform and the according tools for participating in this process. The pop-up lab allows anyone to discover substances with antimicrobial values by testing locally available plants, vegetables, fruits, fungi, mushrooms & soil.
With the help of the corresponding app, the results are stored on an online platform to create a library of antimicrobials. The value of this “microbial fingerprint” of our environment is significantly important for developing new drugs. By partnering with universities & pharmaceutical companies, the massive costs for finding new drugs can be diminished when giving access to this platform.
Post/Biotics was initiated by designer Vidhi Mehta as part of her thesis project for Innovation Design Engineering at Royal College of Art & Imperial College London(2015). The academic project was developed with inputs from Josiah Zayner’s ILIAD Project, Bio-Chemistry department at Imperial College, Natural History Museum, Living Medicine, Cedars School (UK) and Navrachana School (India). The idea behind Post/Biotics is a vision of open-source drug discovery, it imagines what can happen when design enables the tools of scientific innovation to reach out to the common people, supporting their learning, and adding to scientific knowledge through the power of the crowd.