Challenge

Antib​iotics was voted by YOU to be the challenge of Longitude Prize.

In order to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance, the challenge set for the Longitude Prize 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.

What happens next?

Now that the antibiotics challenge has been chosen, we want everyone, from amateur scientists to the professional scientific community, to try and solve it.

Nesta and the Longitude Committee created a set of criteria for how to win the £10 million prize, and you can submit your application at any time through this website. We will judge entries every four months until December 2019 or until a winner is chosen.

The problem

On average antibiotics add 20 years to each person’s life.

The development of antibiotics has been vital to our survival, yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance is threatening to make them ineffective in the future.

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.

While overconsumption of antibiotics is a serious problem that is rendering our drugs ineffective, lack of access to much needed antibiotics in the first place is still a major barrier to health for millions of people. For example, more than a million children with untreated pneumonia and sepsis die each year worldwide. Learn more about access to antibiotics

Evolution

Radical change is needed to address the global problem of growing anti-microbial resistance, to ensure a healthcare 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.

Challenge

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.

Impact

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. 

If the Prize isn't the right type of funding for you, visit our funding page for other opportunities to finance your AMR research.