Microbes rule the world. Constituting some of the earliest forms of life, today they represent the vast majority of living things on our planet by number of individuals. In fact these microorganisms are so numerous, finding homes in almost every niche on the planet, that despite their tiny size, they still represent over half of life on Earth by weight.
Visitors to Imperial College’s Imperial Festival on May 6-7 will explore this world of microbes, and play the role of the ‘Infection Investigator’ in an interactive game hosted in the ‘Superbug Zone’.
The effort is being coordinated by researchers who are looking at ways to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The ‘Infection Investigator’ aims to help visitors to the Imperial Festival understand and contribute to the fight against superbugs.
Participants will apply given biological information to solve medical questions. The game is designed so that the correct combinations of answers complete electrical circuits to power lights and motors – providing visual real-time feedback on their decisions, which will result in the participant being able to spot infection symptoms and to identify the name of the disease and the pathogen responsible.
The ‘Infection Investigator’ will then be able to determine the appropriate treatment for that infection, and learn where to seek appropriate healthcare.
The game focuses on the three main types of pathogen responsible for many common infections (viruses, bacteria and fungi), and some fun facts about the differences between these microorganisms are provided.
“AMR could have a devastating effect on our lives, but fortunately all of us can contribute to stop this,” noted Dr. Dominic Affron, part of the team organizing the game. “The aim of this game is to increase awareness of the different types of infection, and what treatments are appropriate for each.”
Adapted from original by Dominic Affron, Imperial College.