10 Million Pound Prize Offered to Address Antibiotic Resistance

10 Million Pound Prize Offered to Address Antibiotic Resistance

bacteria

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a major threat and the Longitude prize is available to anyone with a solution.

Resistance to antibiotic medication is a growing public health concern. As infections and injuries have been treated with antibiotics over decades, the bacteria responsible for these infections have grown resistant to the treatments. The effects of this are being seen even now according to the World Health Organization. It's first global look at antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic resistance from this past April indicates that death and illness as a result of antibiotic resistance is already of consequential significance.

In order to motivate the development of solutions, a number of groups, lead by independent charity NESTA, have come together to offer a 10 million award, roughly 17 million USD, to resolve the issue. This contest is called the Longitude Prize after a similar initiative 300 years ago.

In 1714 the British government created the Longitude Prize, offering up to 20,000 for a method to determine a ship's longitude. As a result, John Harrison invented the chronometer in 1737 after thirty years of work and research. In 2012, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the return of the Longitude Prize for a yet undetermined research goal.

To determine what area the 2014 Longitude Prize would focus on, a public vote was held on six different categories. The six potential topics were food, paralysis, water, dementia, low-impact air travel, and antibiotic resistance. The winning theme was revealed last night on the BBC's One Show. After the Longitude committee determines the specific goals of the campaign, everyone from amateur scientists to professional researchers will have six years to formulate and submit solutions. Submissions open this fall.

"Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine," stated Dr Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's Assistant Director-General for Health Security. "Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating."

Antibiotic resistance affects the ability to combat bacteria responsible for blood infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea. According to the WHO fact sheet on antimicrobial resistance (a broader field which includes antibiotic resistance), "the death rate for patients with serious infections caused by common bacteria treated in hospitals can be about twice that of patients with infections caused by the same non-resistant bacteria."

Sources: Longitude Prize website, BBC News

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The irony is, the efficacy of antibiotics and the cleanliness of our environs has more or less created this problem. When you have something that kills 99.9% of bacteria that 0.1% basically has all the space for itself and will explode in population.

Sure there are things that will address it but the other caveat is.. it has to not kill or damge us... which is the catch 22. One could say the answer is bacteria. TIntroducing benign bacteria to crowd out the harmful bacteria.

BigTuk:
The irony is, the efficacy of antibiotics and the cleanliness of our environs has more or less created this problem. When you have something that kills 99.9% of bacteria that 0.1% basically has all the space for itself and will explode in population.

Sure there are things that will address it but the other caveat is.. it has to not kill or damge us... which is the catch 22. One could say the answer is bacteria. TIntroducing benign bacteria to crowd out the harmful bacteria.

One of the cool things I found while reading up on this stuff was that they aren't restricting solutions to just "better antibiotics". They are looking for whatever works best to address the problem, even if it is in how diagnosis works.

BigTuk:
The irony is, the efficacy of antibiotics and the cleanliness of our environs has more or less created this problem. When you have something that kills 99.9% of bacteria that 0.1% basically has all the space for itself and will explode in population.

Sure there are things that will address it but the other caveat is.. it has to not kill or damge us... which is the catch 22. One could say the answer is bacteria. TIntroducing benign bacteria to crowd out the harmful bacteria.

id be great if we had a way to influence the evolution of this bacteria, so when they develop resistance to some kind of antibiotic, theyd become suceptible to another, we could ping pong them into submission

The most direct solution is simply be waaaaaaaaaaay more strict in prescribing antibiotics. Mostly like antipsychotics or other terribly strong medicines. Antibiotics can only be prescribed after a molecular test shown that they are indeed necessary to combat that strain (or something among those lines). Doctors can't just see you and prescibe them in under an hour. Bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics usually spit those genes out (which are more often than not on plasmids, not their chromosomes) since they are a metabolic burden when there's no antibiotic around. It happens in a few dozen generations. So.....about six months to a year for a specific strain? Depending on the rate of growth of the bacteria, it could be longer, though. Of course, it wont' be 100% effective, but over the years, less antibiotics flowing around means better chances that your infection won't be carrrying resistance genes.

I'm going to sound all tin foil-hat paranoid here, but Big Pharma and a lot of doctors will try to stop such measures. There are quite a bit of dollars at risk in such a strategy.

Captcha: don't stop

No captcha, that's exactly what's gotten us to this point.

NuclearKangaroo:

BigTuk:
The irony is, the efficacy of antibiotics and the cleanliness of our environs has more or less created this problem. When you have something that kills 99.9% of bacteria that 0.1% basically has all the space for itself and will explode in population.

Sure there are things that will address it but the other caveat is.. it has to not kill or damge us... which is the catch 22. One could say the answer is bacteria. TIntroducing benign bacteria to crowd out the harmful bacteria.

id be great if we had a way to influence the evolution of this bacteria, so when they develop resistance to some kind of antibiotic, theyd become suceptible to another, we could ping pong them into submission

Saddly biology doesn't work that way. since we've more or less already killed off all the bacteria that had the trait of vulnerability there were none left to pass on the trait so the only chance of it returning is through random mutation.

It might actually already be happening but the mutation doesn't compete well against it's brothers.

Antibiotics+Steroids= Stronger Antibiotics. Give me money.

Mini subs with rockets, use a shrink ray and blow up the bacteria. How you do that is your problem, I gave you your solution.

Nanobots!

....yeah I got nothing

Strazdas:

a more realistic solution thats being worked on (because asking people to be responsible AND less clean is not going to work at all) is modified viruses. we are currently studying how to modify viruses to make them do certain things in living organisms, be it extermiante certain proteins or whatever. program them to exterminate these bacteria. there is no defence agains viruses. they cannot evolve to be immune from them.

the problem though - how to make sure these viruses dont go wild and kill yuo in the process.

I was gonna say...thats pretty much the setup of I am Ledgend.....

benign bacteria to outcrod the dangerous ones + responsible prescribtion of antibiotics + lower sterility in our life as to allow our natural defence system to actually learn how to defend itself = wheres my 10 million now.

a more realistic solution thats being worked on (because asking people to be responsible AND less clean is not going to work at all) is modified viruses. we are currently studying how to modify viruses to make them do certain things in living organisms, be it extermiante certain proteins or whatever. program them to exterminate these bacteria. there is no defence agains viruses. they cannot evolve to be immune from them.

the problem though - how to make sure these viruses dont go wild and kill yuo in the process.

 

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