Introducing our new Prize Lead, Daniel Berman

21 Oct 2016
Written by
Daniel Berman
Daniel Berman, new Lead for the Longitude Prize.

I am delighted to be joining the Longitude Prize at this critical juncture. In the last two and a half years Tamar Ghosh and her team have done an extraordinary job raising the profile of the Prize. The high awareness has led to more than 200 teams registering to win. I am excited to build on this initial success.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming months. In the meantime, in way of introduction, I would like to share my perspective to let you know why I am so passionate about taking on the Lead role at the Longitude Prize. 

In my previous work at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) I worked on creating mechanisms to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases. I have also worked to ensure that real needs from the field feed into product development for viral load diagnostics. I have seen first-hand the role that appropriate and adapted medicines and diagnostics can play in revolutionising peoples’ health care.

An excellent example are antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that have been credited with saving millions of lives. Without rapid tests to diagnose HIV and adapted CD4 and viral load monitoring tools, ARVs never would have met their potential.

The same is true regarding AMR. Yes, there is a strong global consensus that antibiotics must be more rationally used and that overprescribing is not helping individuals that are misdiagnosed. This misuse contributes to resistance and limits the supply of effective antibiotics.

But without rapid diagnostic tests to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections, both health professionals and patients will remain in the dark as to whether they should be prescribing or using antibiotics.

On a personal level, I strongly support the Longitude Prize rules because I know the critical importance of criteria like the need to deliver results in 30 minutes or deliver a test that does not depend on expensive hardware.

As I begin taking on my function as Longitude Prize Lead I encourage you to daniel [dot] berman [at] nesta [dot] org [dot] uk (contact me) with questions, suggestions or concerns.