Antibiotic Action

13th Jul 2017

Boroughbridge High School pupils answer the call to arms, and joined the race to discover new antibiotics, and scoop first prize at the 2017 Inspirations STEM fair, York. 

Year 10 & 12 pupils have been investigating natural alternatives to antibiotics, sound science or muddled myth? A selection of essential oils reputed to be effective against bacterial infection were investigated to find out at what concentration stopped bacterial growth.

Each day an estimated 1,900 people around the world die from infections that are resistant to antibiotics: that is 700,000 people every year. However, this number could rise to 10m lives a year being lost by the middle of the century, according to the UK’s 2016 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

Margaret Chan, former World Health Organization Director-General, has likened the rise of AMR to a “slow-motion tsunami”. Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has classified AMR as one of the main threats to the country, alongside terrorism and pandemic flu. 

Three Year 7 pupils also exhibited their project: a new safe technique to make overlay plates in schools. This technique is used to see if soil bacteria produces antibiotics which are effective against infections of interest to the medical profession. This is part of the Antibiotics unearthed project carried out with the Society of General Microbiology.