The European Commission launched a €1 million prize for a diagnostic test to combat antibiotic resistance. The challenge is to develop a rapid test that will allow healthcare providers to distinguish, at the point of care, between patients with upper respiratory tract infections that require antibiotics and those that can be treated safely without antibiotics. By stopping many patients from taking antibiotics needlessly, it will prevent the side effects of such unnecessary treatment, eliminate the cost of prescribing the antibiotics and, most importantly, decrease the development of resistant bacteria.
Why this Prize?
Antimicrobial agents – such as antibiotics – have dramatically reduced the number of deaths from infectious diseases since their introduction 70 years ago. However, through overuse and misuse, many micro-organisms have become resistant to them. It is estimated that each year this growing “antimicrobial resistance” (AMR) causes some 25 000 deaths and over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses in Europe alone.
Upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold, bronchitis and infections of the sinuses, the middle ear and the throat) are a major reason for the prescription of antibiotics, even though many of these infections are due to viruses, where antibiotics are neither effective nor necessary.
The Prize will be awarded for a rapid test to identify, at the point of care, patients with upper respiratory tract infections that can be treated safely without antibiotics. The rules of the contest leave contestants total freedom to come up with the most promising and effective solution, be it from an established scientist in the field or from an innovative newcomer. The award criteria just require the test to be cheap, rapid, easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non- or minimally invasive for patients.
Contestants will be able to submit their entries until 17 August 2016. The rules of the contest are available online.
Who can join the contest?
The contest is open to any single person and legal entity or groups of legal entities established in EU Member States or in countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.
Find out more :
– on the contest website: www.ec.europa.eu/horizonprize/antibiotics
– by following #HorizonPrize
-Birgit Van Tongelen, Scientific Officer, European Commission, Directorate-General for Research & Innovation , Unit E3 – Fighting Infectious Diseases and Global Epidemics