‘Superbugs and the Role of Diagnostics – Longitude Prize 3rd Anniversary’

By Daria Tserkovnaya

Tuesday 14 November, during World Antibiotic Awareness Week, marked the third anniversary of the Longitude Prize and has attracted 250 participants from over 40 countries worldwide. Taking place at Nesta, London and hosted by TV GP, Dr Zoe Williams, the event was attended by a number of Longitude Prize competitors with promising developments who have been granted Discovery Award seed-funding to support their bids to win the Longitude Prize. It is a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve one of the greatest issues of our time: antibiotic resistance. It is being run and developed by Nesta, with Innovate UK as funding partner. The Prize was established by the Prime Minister in 2014 and was named after an invention of a chronometer, the first seafaring clock that allowed people to pinpoint their exact position, where without it ships would be lost at sea.

Headliners of the event compared the impending threat of antimicrobial resistance as a tsunami– a sweeping tsunami that we all face, unless more action is taken. The focus of the Longitude Prize talks were on the race to fight antimicrobial resistance, and the impact resistance is having to peoples’ lives. Three brave insiders, people affected by superbugs, came up on stage to talk about their battles: about the loved ones lost; about the frustration, hardship and lack of direction; and their unity in advocating for the same goal. This is the field where new research and innovations are strongly needed, and soon.

The major outlines of the event were:

  • The importance of interaction with clinicians when working in research on new solutions
  • Educating people on the subject (this is crucial)
  • Understanding that it is not only a scientific but also a business model problem, the solution to which would involve massive scientific, economic, social research
  • Sachin Dubey talked about the importance of locations being considered: as the environment is different, and how guidelines should be written with the consideration of where they will be applied
  • Sam Willcocks spoke of approaches of that are now being re-examined: pros and cons of using bacteriophage, that was widely used in back in Soviet Union; antimicrobial peptides; immunomodulation. All are now the subjects of renewed interest

Credit, Photos of prototypes were given to Daria by Nesta Press Center.

The stories were told by:

Susan Yates CUTIC speaker, CUTICMy view from the loo

Helen Bronstein, Vice Chair, MRSA Action UK – Joyce: A real person behind the superbug hype

Kate Dwyer, CUTIC Speaker, CUTICThe bacteria ate my homework


Full list of speakers attended:

Dr Zoe Williams – GP at NHS and TV Medic For ITV This Morning And BBC Two Trust Me I Am A Doctor

Dr Salim Saiyed – Director and CEO, C- Camp – Representing BIRAC

Dr Penny Wilson –  Senior Specialist for AMR, Vaccines and Global Health, Innovate UK

Daniel Berman – Lead of Longitude Prize, Challenge Prize Centre, Nesta

Dr Susannah Woodd,-  Research fellow at LSHTM and GP at NHS

Dr Till Bachmann-  Reader in Personalised Medicine in Infectious Diseases and Deputy Head Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine at University of Edinburgh, Member of Longitude Prize judging panel

Debbie Porter-  Executive Director Speciality Care Business Unit, MSD

Dr Sam Willcocks – Research Fellow, AMR centre at LSHTM



Module Innovations – India

Sachin Dubey, Co-Founder and CEO, Module Innovations

GFC Diagnostics – UK

Bruce Savage, CEO, GFC Diagnostics

Prismatix – Israel

Heidi Leonard, PhD student, Technion – Israel Instutute of Technology


@nesta_uk      @longitude_prize   @LSHTM_AMR   #AntibioticResistance