Team:Shanghai high school/Collaborations

To exchange ideas to improve our project, our team, Dr.Oral, has collaborated with another iGEM team named PEToracity(2021 iGEM team WFLA_YK_PAO) by inviting them to our workplace and interviewing them. We answered the other team’s questions with detailed explanations and provided suggestions for future improvement. The result of our collaborations includes increasing consciousness about important issues faced by the world today, from both medical and biological standpoints. Furthermore, by communicating with PEToracity, we expect to receive valuable feedback on subscription operation, questionnaire, and the foremost aim of the project.

The topic of PEToracity concentrates on degrading the microplastics in the human body by using gut-engineered probiotics, thus reducing the detriments of residual microplastics. According to their research, microplastics slowly accumulate in the human body without being noticed and potentially pose a significant threat to physical health. Therefore, they decided to study this topic and believe it is necessary to raise public awareness.

During the communication with PEToracity, we both posed several helpful questions which are worth thinking deeply about. Among all the valuable questions, the biggest question is the possibility of commercialization. The wet team states that it is clear that adopting live attenuated viruses is difficult and time-consuming. Based on this phenomenon, the members from PEToracity suggest that we employ another method of proteins carried by the E. coli and Bacillus subtilis as antigens rather than live attenuated virus as antigens, which provides another more feasible and suitable way. This method can shorten the time of producing the vaccine and dwindle the difficulty of the vaccine.

More importantly, we find out the feasibility of commercialization in the case of our vaccine. PEToracity inspired us by employing the fact that viruses are more rampant in developing countries with high populations compared to countries advanced in environmental health. Therefore, we are considering selling our product to less developed countries like South Africa and India. The limitation of their economy and the lower price compared to other oral vaccines make these countries better adapt our vaccine.

Besides the potential users, we also discussed the selling strategies of merchandise. After exchanging ideas with each other, we noticed that PEToracity is planning to sell its merchandise through offline channels only in fundraising. According to the situation of our ongoing sales of inventory, most purchases proceed online. Therefore, we recommend they open an online channel to sell their merchandise, increasing the possibility of purchases and exhibit to more people. At the same time, we also learned that PEToracity had not started the selling because some goods had not been delivered. Based on our own experience, we recommend beginning the online pre-sale while waiting for the goods to be delivered.

Last but not least, we answered several questions that may exist when PEToracity members interview people on the street, such as how to look for the targeted people and how to receive helpful information from interviewees.

In conclusion, by collaborating with PEToracity, we both received inspiration from the project we are working on from the other team. In the meantime, we will improve our experimental method, lower the cost of developing vaccines, and look for more potential users.