The Longitude Prize for a solution to the danger posed by antibiotics resistance has already attracted 75 entries from across the globe
The entries are the first to be received over the five-year life of the prize and will be tested and evaluated over the next 18 months.
New competitors still have a chance to register. There are submission deadlines every four months – the next is in September 2015 – although the prize could be awarded at any time.
The Longitude Prize was announced by prime minister David Cameron in 2013. The public was asked to choose the focus of the prize from six major problems facing the world.
Antibiotics resistance won the vote, and competitors have now been asked to come up with a diagnostic tool that can quickly rule out an antibiotic or identify an effective antibiotic to treat a patient.
The prize has been developed and is run by the innovation charity, Nesta, with Innovate UK acting as funding partner.
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, potentially life-threatening problems. This grand challenge needs radical thinking to find a solution. That’s what the Longitude Prize is about, and why we have provided significant funding for the prize.
The Review on Microbial Resistance, commissioned by the UK government, estimates that drug-resistant infections could kill an extra 10 million people across the world every year by 2050. By this time they could also cost the world $100 trillion in lost output.