Longitude Prize – Diagnostic test that helps solve the problem of global antibiotic resistance

Background:

The Longitude Prize is a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to reward a diagnostic test that helps solve the problem of global antibiotic resistance. It is being run by Nesta and supported by Innovate UK as funding partner.

The Challenge:

How can we prevent the rise of resistance to antibiotics?

The development of antibiotics has added an average of 20 years to our life. Yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance is threatening to make them ineffective. This poses a significant future risk as common infections become untreatable. The challenge is to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

Antibiotic Resistance is one of the biggest challenges facing us today. Bacteria are evolving to become resistant to the antibiotics we have successfully used for decades to treat infections. Longitude Prize is looking to help tackle the problem with a £10 million prize fund for a diagnostic tool that can rule out antibiotic use or help identify an effective antibiotic to treat a patient.

The World Health Organization estimates that antibiotics treatments add an average of 20 years to all of our lives. But in the 80 years since the discovery of penicillin, our overuse of antibiotics has put pressure on bacteria to evolve resistance, leading to the emergence of untreatable superbugs that threaten the basis of modern medicine.

Clinicians often prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics to sick patients because doctors have to act quickly on imperfect information. These methods put selective pressure on microbes to evolve resistance to antibiotics.

Prescriptions from clinicians are just one way in which people access antibiotics, however. There are many routes to these drugs and they vary around the world.

Radical change is needed to address the global problem of growing anti-microbial resistance, to ensure a health care system that can sustainably control and treat infections.

We cannot outpace microbial evolution. A new broad-spectrum antibiotic, if applied with current methods, would eventually meet new forms of resistance. The overall solution involves a long-term path towards a more intelligent use of antibiotics enabling a future of more effective prevention, targeted treatments and smart clinical decision support systems.

The challenge for Longitude Prize will be set to create a cheap, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use point of care test kit for bacterial infections.

Point-of-care test kits will allow more targeted use of antibiotics, and an overall reduction in misdiagnosis and prescription. Effective and accurate point of care tests will form a vital part of the toolkit for stewardship of antibiotics in the future. This will ensure that the antibiotics we have now will be effective for longer and we can continue to control infections during routine and major procedures.

Key Timings:

We will judge entries every four months until December 2019 or until a winner is chosen.  The next submission deadline is 31st May 2017.

Are you interested in this challenge?

For more information please email the Innovation SuperNetwork team at hello@supernetwork.org.uk or complete the form below so we can help you and guide you through the application process.

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Partners

Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BIC, and Reece Innovation with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.