Longitude Prize Focuses on Antibiotic Resistance

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Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014

The Longitude Prize, a science award that promotes innovations that solves one of the biggest issues the world is facing at the moment, is focused on addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance.

The project that will solve this problem will win a prize of a whopping £10 million. The challenge was announced by Professor Alice Roberts Wednesday on The One Show of BBC One.

Organizers of the Longitude Prize initially identified six themes, and then they let the public vote which issue to tackle.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that one day key drugs wont work on previously treatable infections, which is called a “post-antibiotic era.”

Part of the six that were initially identified included ensuring all people in the world will get appropriate amount of nutritious food and clean water, reducing air travel’s impact on the environment, and making paralyzed patients move again.

This scientific challenge is from the 1714 Longitude Prize, which John Harrison won. Harrison invented the clock that allows sailors to accurately pinpoint their current position at sea.

Roberts said, as of now, drug resistance is one of the major problems facing humanity. Tackling antibiotic resistance could lead to a new way to diagnose a viral infection to a bacterial infection.

Welcome Trust Director Dr. Jeremy Farrar said drug resistance jeopardizes medical success, including procedures in transplant surgeries to more critical cancer treatments. And this threat is currently being taken for granted, he said.

Candidates are given five years to come up with a solution to the increasing antibiotic resistance problem.

Antibiotics gives people an average of 20 more years to live and the increasing antimicrobial resistance is making these treatments ineffective. Later on, this predicament would render a lot of common infections incurable.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies even labelled this problem as a ticking time bomb.

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