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.
With such a test, doctors will be able to quickly know whether patients with upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold, bronchitis and otitis) can be treated safely without antibiotics. Upper respiratory tract infections are a major reason for the prescription of antibiotics, even though many of these infections are due to viruses, where antibiotics are neither effective nor necessary.
The aim of the Horizon Prize for better use of antibiotics is to stop many patients from taking antibiotics needlessly, which is one of the main reasons for the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is one of the five innovation prizes which will be launched in 2015 under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme (IP/14/849).
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