Vietnamese girls win third prize at US science fair with antibiotic resistance solution

By Nguyen Quy   May 20, 2018 | 07:09 pm PT
Vietnamese girls win third prize at US science fair with antibiotic resistance solution
The Vietnamese team takes a group photo with other peers at Intel ISEF 2018. Photo Courtesy of Society for Science and The Public
Their project is the only winner among eight sent by Vietnam to the international contest.

Two Vietnamese high school students claimed third award for their research on an antibiotic resistant infection at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in the U.S., the organizing committee said on its website.

Pham Thi Minh Hue and Le Tuyet Quynh Anh from the northern city of Hai Phong were named among four third-award winners in the biochemistry category and brought home $1,000 for their project named “A Solution for Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection in Vietnam.”

This was the only award-winning project among eight Vietnamese entries at this year contest, according to award results announced on Saturday.

Vietnam’s antibiotics sales have doubled since 2009, with more people taking unnecessary prescriptions, putting the community more at risk of drug resistance, experts said at conference in Hanoi this month. The World Health Organization has listed Vietnam among the list of nations with the highest rate of antibiotic-resistant infections, standing at 33 percent of patients. This conclusion was also reached by IMS Health, a Connecticut-based healthcare data company, in a 2015 report on global antibiotics usage.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition with an aim to promote the development of science through education, which provides an annual playground for young scientists to showcase their talents and passion.

This year, the contest attracted 1,700 students from 75 countries and territories. Oliver Nicholls, 19, of Sydney, Australia, won first place for designing and building a prototype of an autonomous robotic window cleaner for commercial buildings, receiving $75,000 at a ceremony held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Last year, the Vietnamese team won nine prizes in total, including awards for a smartphone app to assist deaf and mute people and two projects on cancer treatment. Pham Huy, then an 11th grader from Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam, won third award for his robotic arm at the Washington-based global science contest after two visa rejections that almost killed his dream trip.

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