Taking urgent action on Antibiotic Resistance: Longitude Prize and the Jim O'Neill AMR Review

11 Dec 2014
Written by
Tamar Ghosh

Today’s government-issued report from renowned economist Jim O’Neill has laid out a stark future of a world where bacterial resistance to antibiotics will cause 10 million more deaths a year. This grim vision will have a huge burden on our economy, costing up to $100 trillion by 2050 from loss of population.

The report reaffirms the UK public’s decision to vote for antibiotic resistance as the focus of £10m Longitude Prize earlier this year, and we are proud to already be making efforts to curb this potentially grave problem. 

Longitude Committee member Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said that the report “demonstrates that the world simply cannot afford not to take action to tackle the alarming rise in resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs we are witnessing at the moment.”

The problem of antibiotic resistance is a global one, and an almost unprecedented challenge in medicine.  A problem of this size needs a multi-faceted approach, with innovations in drug development and diagnostics reaching all corners of the world, alongside improved behaviours with regards to antibiotics.  We’re pleased to be working in collaboration with organisations and activities across the world to help tackle this issue, urgently. 

The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus has shown us the devastating effects of not being able to rely on modern medicine in ways that many of us have come to expect.  If a solution is not found to antibiotic resistance we may see similarly shocking outcomes from minor surgery, injuries and infections.  Longitude Prize has brought together some of the world’s leading experts on antibiotic resistance and diagnostic development alongside health economists, social scientists, and those implementing global health programmes to form the Prize Advisory Panel to judge Prize entries. Their expertise and commitment will ensure the Prize has significant impact across the world, conserving antibiotics for the future and revolutionising global healthcare. 

Encouraging the development of a transformative point of care test which can be used in any location to understand when and which antibiotics are needed, will make a significant difference to treatment and outcomes for many patients. We hope that the Prize will inspire innovation from all disciplines, and across the globe.

Longitude Prize is open now - if you have an idea for a diagnostic that can help us avoid the fate set out today in Jim O’Neill’s report, register to enter and join us as part of the solution.