1m prize offered for diagnostic test to combat antibiotic resistance

The European Commission (EC) has put up a prize of €1 million (£730,000) as a reward for the development of a “need-to-use” test, designed to help stop the overuse of antibiotics.

Aimed at helping doctors decide when patients need antibiotics and when they can safely be treated without them, the prize addresses a key concern in the debate over the competing human verses animal claims on antibiotics.

“Growing resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest challenges to public health today,” said European Commissioner for research, science and innovation, Carlos Moedas. 

“We need to find new ways to prevent people from dying from infections that have been treatable for decades, until resistance rendered our drugs ineffective.

“We need to bring new classes of antibiotics to market and we need to take preventative measures to stop antibiotics being over-prescribed and over-used.”

Called the “Horizon Prize” the new €1m “inducement” offers a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge with a breakthrough solution.

“It leaves applicants 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,” said the EC, adding that the antibiotics award solution needs to be “cheap, rapid, easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non or minimally invasive for patients”.

Contestants can submit their entries anytime from March 10, 2015, to August 17, 2016.

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