Antibiotics wins the 2014 Longitude Prize!

BSAC is delighted that the topic of antibiotic resistance was selected winning theme for the 2014 Longitude Prize, attracting the £10m prize that was set up to tackle a major challenge of our time.   It is all the more satisfying to see that the prize was awarded in open competition with six other high profile themes that were put to a public vote.  The results were announced by Alice Roberts, Anatomist and Broadcaster on BBC’s One Show.

Welcoming the award Professor Laura Piddock, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement and Director of Antibiotic Action said:

We are delighted that antibiotics was the winning theme for the 2014 Longitude Prize.  Along with our peers we have long advocated that the issue of antibiotic resistance was, in the words of Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer “a ticking time bomb” and that urgent action was needed to stem resistance and identify solutions to the near empty antibiotic pipeline“.  She continued “We view the public support in securing this prize for antibiotics as evidence that efforts of initiatives such as Antibiotic Action are having the impact that is needed in educating all audiences about the pivotal and vital role antibiotics play in maintaining the health of nations.”

Dr Nicholas Brown, BSAC President and Consultant Microbiologist Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge added “This is an important moment for medicine, without antibiotics most treatments would fail or would simply not be possible.  Identifying innovative and ground breaking solutions to the problems of antimicrobial resistance are not only needed but are essential.  The Longitude Prize is a high profile opportunity to ensure the issue of antimicrobial resistance stays high on all agenda – healthcare, public and political.”

The Society is proud to serve as secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics which met on 24 June to look at the challenges of antimicrobial resistance to animal and human health.  The APPG-A is chaired by the Jamie Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Health who had this to say:

I am absolutely delighted that antibiotics has been voted the theme for this year’s Longitude Prize. 

“The scale of the challenge that antimicrobial resistance presents is beyond any doubt and new innovative thinking is essential.  The history of the Longitude Prize is illustrious and any solutions that are put forward this year have the potential to be as world changing and beneficial to medicine as John Harrison and others were to ocean travel with the original Longitude prize in 1714”.  He continued 

“I was extremely proud to be nominated as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics for the second time earlier this week.  Under the guidance of Professor Piddock and with the help of the BSAC, we achieved a great deal in our first year and we will continue to bring stakeholders, decision makers and experts together to raise the issue of antimicrobial resistance over the coming months.”

The Longitude Prize Committee will now meet to define the parameters of the call that will look to create a cheap, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow doctors and nurses all over the world to better target their treatments, administering the right antibiotics at the right time.