A prize of €1 million will be awarded to the person or team that develops a rapid test to tell whether a patient needs to be treated with antibiotics or not, the European Commission announced today. The aim is to stop overuse of antibiotics and halt the growing resistance of micro-organisms to them that causes every year 25 000 deaths and over €1.5 billion in healthcare expenses and productivity losses in Europe alone.
The Horizon Prize for better use of antibiotics is a challenge prize (also known as "inducement" prize) – it 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 rules of contest are now available online. Contestants will be able to submit their entries from 10 March 2015 until 17 August 2016.