Team:Saint Joseph/Background

Our Story

Firstly, we decided to tackle fish infections because not only our country boasts an annual offshore production of more than 170 tons, sea and sea life constitutes a major part of our culture as well.

We are seeking to establish a new sanitation method for commercial fish farms. Owing to the currently pervasive misuse of antibiotics, truth be told, we are teetering on the edge of a modern crisis: a super contagion, or in other words, a virulent strain of pathogen immune to most antibiotics, sweeping the world with unprecedented ferocity. Naturally, it is only logical to search for a way to prevent such a crisis. This is the way we're aspiring to achieve as we veer slowly yet surely into another global health crisis.

Second of all, antibiotics are no longer the over-achievers they were during their inception, this being complemented with their effect over our bodies. By ingesting your next pill, you will be subsequently pressuring your liver and many other parts of your body. Ranging from reflux, nausea, drowsiness, low blood pressure, irregular bowel movement, loose stool and others, often coupled with the stress that antibiotics put on your liver. There is a lot of side effects we tend to take for granted when it comes to the antibiotics we use. And likewise, you will also be ingesting harmful compounds whenever you're having fish grown in a farm overflowing with antibiotics for dinner. Studies pertaining to various toxic materials such as mercury, lead, and biowastes accredit the accumulation of waste material in the fishes tissue, which naturally leads to toxic accumulation in our own bodies.

To understand why our current approach to antibiotics is failing us, let us take another look on the matter. With each generation of antibiotics, we've harshened the habitats of all bacteria due to our excessive use of drugs whenever we're feeling ill. These bacteria then become more tenacious, more durable and very resistant to tough environmental conditions. We've artificially selected the toughest and most resistant bacteria to live, inadvertently because of our wide acceptance of antibiotics in our daily lives. Because only the bacteria who are resistant to antibiotics survive, they will carry on their genes, thus ensuring the propagation of antibiotics resistance.

Most of all, it is painfully evident that once antibiotics become invalid, humanity will once again face the catastrophic threat of plagues. In truth, we simply have to tone down the abuse of antibiotics and find new methods which cannot be resisted and can virtually replace antibiotics. For this, we will turn to phages, extremely precise bacteria, nature's hitmen, for help. Phages come already briefed on what to do and what not to do, which makes them the most precise bacteria killers on earth. They are so precise in fact, that countless phages already interact with our cells on a daily basis, they will solely target their own hosts, to the relief of scientists worldwide.

Phages offer unparalleled, precise antimicrobial properties, and lytic (virulent) phages have been shown to be capable of greatly diminishing the bacterial population. For the lack of a better word, they tend to be too precise for their own good, as their host changing the lining of their membrane can sometimes be more than enough to deter them from doing their job. This is where our backup comes in: AMP's. Antimicrobial peptides are peptides which can lyse or neutralize our target bacteria for greater effect, who will be employed in order to maximize the efficacy of our treatment. Our forte is taking down singular strains of microbes with extreme precision, unfortunately this also means that we cannot use a recombinant phage therapy on any infection, which means that our method will not yield positive results unless used properly.

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