In the afternoon, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the group of students and graduates from four Greek universities who won a gold medal in this year’s international synthetic biology competition iGEM, which took place at the beginning of November in Paris with the participation of more than 400 teams, at Megaros Maximos.

The young scientists presented the Prime Minister with their work, an easy-to-use diagnostic test for the neurodegenerative Parkinson’s disease before the onset of severe motor symptoms, which are usually diagnosed clinically after the disease reaches an advanced stage. The team’s goal is to make it possible to detect Parkinson’s at an early stage and therefore to substantially improve the prognosis for patients.

As they explained, the method they developed uses a genetically modified, harmless bacteriophage virus, which will act as a diagnostic photo-sensor, as it will change color when it is attached in a targeted manner to specific organic compounds linked to Parkinson’s. The results are then displayed in a digital application.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated the members of the interdisciplinary team from the National Technical University of Athens, the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, the University of Western Attica and the University of Piraeus. He asked them about their research and wished them success in their careers as well as in their further studies to turn their work into a fully developed diagnostic tool. “There seems to be something interesting in terms of technology and intellectual property (IP),” the Prime Minister said, while asking the researchers about their next steps.


In the context of the debate, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed out the importance that the government attaches to the creation of new infrastructures to deal with diseases that affect thousands of citizens every year, such as the development of Enhanced Care Units in NHS hospitals for cases of stroke. “It deprives us not only of human lives but condemns people to paralysis, because we do not have a quick intervention. I really believe it and I think that by the end of the year we will be able to operate the first, 365 days a year, in Attiko”, he stressed.