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Race is on for ‘Longitude Prize: £10 million challenge” to conserve antibiotics

A man reads a race card during the first day of the Royal Ascot

New Delhi, Oct 12 : The race is on to find the winner of the Longitude Prize, and who will deserve £10 million challenge that aims to conserve antibiotics for future generations, thus revolutionizing global healthcare.

It is the largest UK challenge prize and the first of its kind to be determined through a public vote.

The prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the ‘Longitude Act of 1714’, that determines longitude at sea. It is being developed and delivered by Nesta and supported by Innovate UK as funding partner.

Last year, with the support of the BBC and Amazon, the UK public decided the focus of the new Longitude Prize to be antibiotic resistance. The five year race has begun to develop a point of care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed.

The promotion for the longitude prize in India began in New Delhi today with a panel discussion addressing one of the biggest challenges facing our world.

So far, 111 teams across the globe including 11 teams from India have registered, ranging from individual innovators to university teams and biotech and medtech companies.

Zahid Latif, Head of Health and Care at Innovate UK said, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the largest challenges facing the world today. If it is not suitably addressed, diseases that we think nothing of at the moment, will start becoming serious.”

The development of antibiotics is one of the great scientific achievements of our time. It has added an average of 20 years to our lives. Yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance is today threatening to make those antibiotics ineffective and common infections untreatable.

So, the challenge is to find a way 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. The prize will be awarded to a diagnostic tool that can rule out antibiotic use or help identify an effective antibiotic to treat a patient. (ANI)