Imagine that. Instead of “Exterminate!” being directed at The Doctor and his companions, this Dalek will be directing its iconic command toward harmful bacteria.
How did this happen?
You’ve probably heard of bacterial diseases becoming immune to antibiotics, and this is becoming a serious problem in the medical field. Because of this, researchers are looking for new kinds of bacteria that may serve as antibiotics.
In line with this, a group led by Adam Roberts of University College London has launched a project called Swab and Send.
The project is essentially crowd-sourced. People are asked to pledge, after which they will receive a swab and stamped envelope so that the sample can be sent back to the lab for analysis. There are three simple steps.
- Choose an environment to swab – “Anywhere that you think different bacteria will be competing for space and food is suitable. We want you to swab the weird and wonderful places your imagination can come up with.”
- Send the sample back
- They will let you know what they found
Where does the Dalek come into the picture?
Well, BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science presenter Dr. Adam Rutherford did his part and went around the BBC to gather samples. As chance would have it, he came across the Broadcasting House Dalek. Naturally, he took a sample.
The sample from the Dalek showed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR potential new antibiotics.
Take that, bad bacteria.
If anything comes out of this, we may very well say…a Dalek a day keeps the Doctor away. Oh, wait…