Students isolate 570 microbes from soil samples to identify new antibiotics

The 57 Valencian students who have taken part in the "En busca de nuevos Fleming" (Searching for the new Fleming) project of the SWICEU team, have showcased their results in an event held at the assembly room of the CEU Cardenal Herrera university.

These students, guided by 22 university students of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Veterinary Sciences of the CEU UCH, have isolated 570 microorganisms from soil samples that they gathered, detecting 64 strains with potential antibiosis capabilities against reference bacteria.

The American School of Valencia, Santa María school of El Puig and San Pedro Pascual school have been the three centres that have taken part in the project this year. The CEU UCH has been the only Spanish university to take the experiments to the schools in person, designing a specific anti-Covid-19 safety protocol for the practical sessions.

The coronavirus has already caused 3.3 million deaths in a year. But in just three decades, infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria will cause 10 million deaths a year, according to the predictions of the WHO. In this project we involve the youth, university and pre-university students, to act against this other great threat for global health that we must not forget."

Teresa Pérez Gracia, Microbiology Professor, CEU UCH, Head, SWICEU group

The 57 high school students showcased their findings in the search for possible new antibiotics at the final event of the project, and they shared the experience of taking part in a real scientific experiment, aided by university students, and making their own contribution to this global health challenge.

They all received a diploma for taking part in the project and the "2050 ¡Infección!" pack of cards, a game created by the SWICEU team to raise awareness in a leisurely way on the global health issue posed by bacterial resistance.

They also visited the university facilities and its laboratories, accompanied by the 22 university students who guided their experiments, from the Degrees in Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences of the CEU UCH.

In schools, with an anti-COVID protocol

The SWICEU team has been the only Spanish university team this year that has been to schools in person to search for new antibiotics, designing a specific anti-Covid-19 protocol for this purpose. In the four editions of international projects SWI and Tiny Earth that the CEU UCH has taken part in since 2017, a total 380 Valencian students from seven schools and high schools have managed to isolate 306 colonies of microorganisms with potential antibiotic capabilities.

Over 80 university students from degrees in Health Sciences and Veterinary Sciences have guided the experiments at the seven participating schools in these past four school years. "Our goal is to promote scientific vocation among the youth in the field of bacterial resistance, but also to raise awareness on the proper use of known antibiotics with informative and leisure actions," stresses Teresa Pérez Gracia.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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