Better use of antibiotics - €1 million
On the evening of 6 February 2017, Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, will award the "Horizon Prize – Better Use of Antibiotics" and "The EU Health Awards for NGO’s fighting Antimicrobial Resistance" at a ceremony to be held in Leuven, Belgium.
The shortlisted candidates for the €1m Better Use of Antibiotics Horizon Prize have been announced as ImmunoPoC, Minicare HNL and PulmoCheck for their ideas on developing and/or bringing-to-market a test to quickly identify whether a patient can be treated safely without antibiotics. Although antibiotics are only effective and necessary for bacterial infections, they are often prescribed for viral infections such as the common cold or bronchitis.
ImmunoPoC™ and Minicare HNL have presented a finger prick test that gives a result on the type of infection within fifteen minutes, so that the right prescription can be given immediately at the point of care. Pulmocheck is developing a device (test strip and fluid version) that reacts within 2-6 minutes to body fluids derived from a bacterial infection.
The winner will be officially announced at the ceremony on 6 February 2017.
This €1 million prize addresses the issue of the unnecessary use of antibiotics, which is contributing to the growing problem of 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.
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.
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest challenges facing society today and has led to various complementary initiatives such as the European Antibiotic Awareness Day and the Longitude Prize on Antibiotics.
The Horizon Prize for better use of antibiotics 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 test will need to be cheap, rapid, easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non- or minimally invasive for patients. 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.
The rules of the contest specify the targets that need to be met but do not prescribe the methodology or any technical details of the test, thereby giving 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.
- 17 August 2016: submission closed
- 18 November 2016: the shortlisted candidates were announced by the European Commission
- 6 February 2017: the winner will be officially announced at the award ceremony