Cheap, rapid, easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non- or minimally invasive for patients: That are the criteria for the 1 Mio Euro Horizon prize for better use of antibiotics. In a few days (August 17) the timeline of submission will be over. Which hopes are connected with this prize, we asked the European Commission.
Develop a rapid test to identify patients with upper respiratory tract infections that can be treated safely without antibiotics and win 1 Mio Euro – this was announced by the European commission in February 2015. On August 17 the timeline of submission will be over and the process of finding the best project will begin.
The reason of the intense engagement of the European Commission in the field of rapid diagnosis: It is estimated that each year the growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) causes some 25 000 deaths and over 1.5 billion Euro in healthcare expenses and productivity losses in Europe.
„Growing resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest challenges to public health today. We need to find new ways to prevent people from dying from infections that have been treatable for decades, until resistance rendered our drugs ineffective. We need to bring new classes of antibiotics to market and we need to take preventative measures to stop antibiotics being over-prescribed and over-used”, says Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. One of the most effective preventative measures is rapid diagnosis. An effective rapid test shows quickly whether a patient with upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold, bronchitis and otitis) needs to be treated with antibiotics or not. Upper respiratory tract infections are a major reason for the prescription of antibiotics.
The Horizon Prize for better use of antibiotics is a challenge prize (also known as inducement prize) that offers a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge with a breakthrough solution. It leaves 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. The award criteria just require the test to be cheap, rapid, easy-to-use for healthcare providers and non- or minimally invasive for patients.
The Semmelweis Foundation will keep in touch with the European Commission and will make efforts to present the person behind the prize after the presentation. By the way – rapid diagnosis will also be an item within its 2nd CEE conference on Hospital Hygiene and Patient Safety on March 7-8 in Budapest.