SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IMPACT
In the past years, we have seen that scientific research can be a driving force for the development of society. Science is everywhere, from the newest technology, making our routines easier, to life-saving solutions in laboratories. Thus, it is essential for us, scientists, to deal with existing problems and avoid creating new ones. We have to look beyond our national borders, act responsibly and protect our environment.
Therefore, while creating our project, we followed the 17 United Nations goals for sustainable global development that aim to ensure a better future for everyone . The goals work as a balancing act, because the development of society must go hand in hand with the preservation of the planet and our social needs.
This year, our team chose to tackle a global problem - amebiasis. We found that despite it being the 3rd deadliest protist-caused infection in the world , it still lacks proper management tools. First, current infection prevention is unspecific, based on good sanitation, avoidance of contaminated food and water. Second, methods designed to diagnose amebiasis are ineffective or unavailable in the regions where the disease is widespread.
Project “AmeBye” is mainly based on goals 3, 9 and 17.
Goal 3︱Good health and well being
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Our team believes that good health is crucial for every person to live a fulfilling life. As we have learned from the current pandemic, well-being disruptions cause enormous problems not only to individuals but also to businesses and the government. Therefore, we see the importance of creating a product to solve a large-scale health problem. We mainly worked toward contributing to target 3.3. (By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.)
We tried to reach this goal by producing preventive probiotics and an affordable and efficient diagnostic test for amebiasis. This tropical disease is the third deadliest parasitic illness in the world that can spread through water, food, and contaminated hands. As our society is global, spreadability means possible danger to any country if action against the parasite is not taken.
The first solution that we are offering is probiotics that are to prevent the global spread of amebiasis. We chose prevention as our objective to lower the chances of aggressive infection and to avoid possible worldwide pandemics that might be favored by mass tourism.
If the preventive measure fails, an easy-to-use diagnostic test can help combat amebiasis in developing countries where this problem is immense. Keeping in mind less developed economies, our inexpensive tool ensures that medical institutions receive a lower financial load and every patient receives a proper diagnosis.
Goal 9︱Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
In 2020, Lithuania’s biotechnology sector grew by almost 87 percent, and businesses in the field contributed around 2.5 percent to the country’s GDP . These numbers show that Lithuania is indeed a perfect place to create something never seen before. To contribute to the goal, we aimed at target 9.5 (Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending).
Our contribution to the goal is seen as a novel scientific solution to an existing global problem. The amebiasis test we are creating is a new way of diagnostics that has not been implemented before. While making the tool, our laboratory team did thorough scientific research that added to an innovative solution. The results from our experiments are to add to the general knowledge on the topic of amebiasis. Moreover, we see our team’s collaborations with iGEM teams from developing countries to contribute to a scientific advancement there.
Goal 17︱ Partnerships for the goals
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
We, as a team, understand that working together with others is the best way to make progress. A variety of outlooks coming from different backgrounds and having expertise can help create more universal solutions. This is not only the basis of teamwork but of international partnership as well. To make “AmeBye” suitable for a global society, our team thoroughly followed target 17.16 (Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.)
To contribute to the reach of a goal, our team closely collaborated with foreign iGEM teams (IISER-Berhampur, AFCM-Egypt, and iGEM UANL) to gain insights on local society and its knowledge on amebiasis to offer the best possible solutions for the existing problem. Moreover, the teams shared our created educational content on identifying and preventing amebiasis in their local communities. This ensured the share of knowledge and raising awareness on both sides. To make our partnerships more diverse, we teamed up with the TU Delft team from the Netherlands. We tested our created software by running it on several protein targets for our partners. This allowed us to validate our product and added to other teams’ success in their wet-lab process.
All in all, with our project, we address the sustainable development goals 3, 9, and 17, expressed by the UN, as we want to contribute to improved healthcare globally. Our amebiasis probiotics and diagnostic test are to help in the combat against a neglected tropical disease. We want to stress that we created our solutions after thorough consultations with representatives of affected countries. Our tools are easy to use, suitable for broad use, and adjustable for further applications.