Antibiotics are becoming less effective at treating infections, and this is one of the greatest threats to global health. In order to raise awareness among young people about the need to use antibiotics properly and prevent the problem from escalating in the future, the Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative team at ISGlobal designed Micro-Combat, an educational card game that allows people to have fun while learning more about the situation. The game, created by ISGlobal in collaboration with Laboratori de Jocs, was produced and validated with funding from the European Health Forum Gastein and European Antibiotic Awareness Day, an initiative of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The physical version of the game was released in 2017.
Now Micro-Combat is going a step further. The game is now available as a free app for both Android and iPhone. The app is the result of ISGlobal’s collaboration with European Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI), which financed and coordinated the development of the online game alongside ISGlobal.
Micro-Combat is a cooperative game in which the players’ mission is to protect the population from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa with varying degrees of virulence. As in real life, a character who is attacked by a pathogen can avoid illness if, for example, they have agood immune system, if they take preventive measures to protect themselves against infection, or if they have cards representing appropriate medicines for treating the infection. However, pathogens can sometimes become resistant to medicines, which complicates the situation: preventive measures are the only way to avoid infection by drug-resistant pathogens.
The game is designed for ages 10 years and up. It can be played alone or with up to four players and takes approximately 10 minutes. With the app, players can assess their ability to control infections by unlocking achievements until they have assembled the ideal disease-fighting team.
In 2018, Micro-Combat won the National Antibiotic Resistance Plan (PRAN) Award for Best Initiative for Communication and Raising Awareness About Antibiotic Resistance, which is awarded by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS).
The purpose of Micro-Combat is to help create a new generation of young people who are prepared to face potential pandemics and better informed about disease transmission, the importance of prevention and the major public health challenge posed by antimicrobial resistance.
In addition, ISGlobal is allocating all proceeds from the sale of Micro-Combat to research into new antibiotics.