Euro 10 million contest to conserve antibiotics

Eleven teams from India in the fray; workshop in City today

The British Deputy High Commission will organise a workshop on Anti-Microbial Resistance and launch the 10-million pound Longitude Prize challenge on Wednesday at the Taj West End in the City.

The challenge aims to conserve antibiotics for future generations, revolutionising global healthcare. It is the largest UK challenge prize and the first of its kind to be determined through a public vote.

The Prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act of 1714, the first British challenge prize, to determine longitude at sea. It is being developed and delivered by Nesta and supported by Innovate UK as funding partner.

Last year, with the support of the BBC and Amazon, the UK public decided the focus of the new Longitude Prize to be antibiotic resistance. The five-year race has begun to develop a point-of-care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed and – if they are – which ones to use.

So far 111 teams across the globe including 11 teams from India have registered, ranging from individual innovators to university teams and biotech and med-tech companies.

The development of antibiotics is one of the great scientific achievements of our time. It has added an average of 20 years to our lives. Yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance is today threatening to make those antibiotics ineffective and common infections untreatable. So the challenge is to find a way 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. The Longitude Prize will be awarded to a diagnostic tool that can rule out antibiotic use or help identify an effective antibiotic to treat a patient.

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