Entry for:Hitachi Social Innovation Awards
Imagine a scenario whereby a high school teacher could work alongside their students to make drugs.
This scenario might sound scarily familiar to anyone who watched the hit series, Breaking Bad. But at the Open Source Malaria (OSM) consortium we have a very different plan, Breaking Good.
OSM are pioneers in open source drug discovery and are trying to show that science is better and more efficient when ideas and data are shared. Since 2011, we have been trying to find a new medicine for malaria, a disease that killed almost 2 thousand people per day in 2015. The project shares some similarities with a traditional drug discovery program, but there are also some very big differences, namely that we won’t patent any of our findings and that all of our data is freely available on the Internet.
A recent OSM publication showcased the research of over 50 open scientists, from 21 different institutions in 9 different countries. Because we are an open project, in addition to working with experts in labs all over the world, we have also formed some rather unusual collaborations. Since 2012, universities in Australia, the UK, the United States and NZ have been making brand new molecules that have been tested against the malaria parasite and there are even some High School Students working on the synthesis of new drugs. The Open Source Malaria Schools and Undergraduate Project (OSMSUP) provides a unique opportunity for students to learn essential experimental skills while contributing to a real research project.
A Hitachi Social Innovation Award would enable OSM to mobilise teachers from institutions around the world to grow this community of young scientists. By sharing data and ideas we hope to find a treatment for malaria sooner and for less money