News story

Antibiotics wins the Longitude Prize

Search for tool to determine between bacterial and viral infections to fight antimicrobial resistance has won £10m Longitude prize.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


One of the problems contributing to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the lack of a simple test to tell doctors when an infection is caused by bacteria and should be treated by antibiotics. Incorrect use of antibiotics to treat viral infections gives bacteria the chance to develop resistance (without providing any benefit to the individual) and so later down the line, when you really do need an antibiotic, there might not be one that works. 5,000 people die each year in the UK from antibiotic resistant infections.

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies worked with the Longitude Committee to develop the antibiotic challenge which will help conserve our antibiotics and fight antimicrobial resistance.

Over the summer, the Longitude Committee will develop the challenge criteria that will set out what people need to do to win the multi-million pound prize. Ideas can then be submitted from the autumn and competitors will have up to 5 years to put their solution forward for assessment by the Committee.

Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies said:

I am delighted that Antibiotics has been voted to receive the Longitude prize funds. I feel extremely passionate about the work that will be able to take place now, and I thank everyone that has taken the time to vote.

Thanks to the Longitude Prize, we will be able to start the development of a rapid diagnostic test, which will help to conserve the antibiotics we have and thus ensure they remain effective for as long as possible. Antimicrobial Resistance is one of the most important issues facing modern medicine in the world today and development of a rapid diagnostic has the potential to improve patient care on a global scale.

Published 27 June 2014