I am sitting at a conference in Istanbul, looking at a fantastic project called METASUB. I am no biologist, so bear with me and correct any mistakes I might make. I am sharing it because I think it might be a fun thing to think about, and maybe even work on, for people like @Dorsaf, @amiridina, @JasperB, @ramykim, @rachel etc. I can specifically see a potentially marketable project in northern Africa. Here goes:
- The metabiome of a place is the microbial ecology of its whole human population. METASUB collects swabs in places like metro stations, sewage treatment systems and public beaches.
- It turns out you can find detect the existence of superbugs (resistant to anti-microbial treatment) by looking for certain genes, ignoring the bugs themselves.
- You can then cross the genes signaling superbugs with the existing antibiotics that those superbugs are resistant to. This will tell doctors in the city not to use those antibiotics. The final product is a matrix: common bugs on the Y, antibiotics on the X. The cell (A, B) takes value 1 if bug B is resistant to antibiotic A. If column A is full of ones, don’t use A in medical practice.
What do you guys think?