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AMR diagnostics: £8m Longitude Prize in final stretch - to cut test time from three days to under an hour

AMR diagnostics: £8m Longitude Prize in final stretch - to cut test time from three days to under an hour

13 April 2022, London – The Longitude Prize ( has announced the final phase in its mission to award £8 million (US$10.5 million/€9.5 million/₹792 million) to an affordable, accurate and rapid diagnostic test to support treatment decisions, decrease the inappropriate use of antibiotics and tackle the rising global pandemic of drug resistant infections. Today it announces that in the event that the existing criteria of a time to result of 30-minutes is not met by September 2022, tests with a time to result of 60-minutes or less will be eligible. This remains a dramatic reduction from the three days it currently takes from test to result.

Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to humanity. In 2019, more than 1.2 million people worldwide – and potentially millions more – died as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. In a recent report, health leaders have warned that antimicrobial resistance has become a leading cause of death globally, killing around 3,500 people every day. No new antibiotic has been discovered since 1962 for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Testing plays a critical role in reducing antibiotic resistance by improving diagnosis of infections to prevent unwarranted use of antibiotics, and to rapidly detect and contain resistant infections.[1] 

Current diagnostic testing for bacterial infections takes three days in a central laboratory. This includes time taken to detect the presence of pathogens, and identify which antibiotic will be effective against them. The Longitude Prize calls on innovators to develop new rapid tests that achieve this type of advance in far less time and can be done at point-of-care. Innovative AMR diagnostic tests in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) could save at least 333,000 lives a year.[2] 

The Longitude Prize will be awarded to a team of innovators for a point-of-care diagnostic test that meets the seven mandatory criteria of the prize. It must demonstrate that there is clinical need for the test, that it is accurate, affordable, safe, easy-to-use and scalable. Crucially, the test must be rapid.

There are currently 50 teams of innovators actively pursuing the Longitude Prize, based in Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, the USA and the UK. Many are well-advanced and are close to being ready to bring their new tests to market. However, meeting all of the ambitious criteria has so far proved challenging. The prize remains open to new teams of diagnostic test innovators that believe their rapid diagnostic test meets the prize criteria.


Today, the Longitude Prize is announcing that should no team win the prize by September 2022 based on the existing criteria, solutions submitted in the final assessment round on 30th September 2022 will be reconsidered against a permissible time-to-result extended from a maximum of 30-minutes to 60-minutes. This broadens the opportunity for new teams of innovators - particularly those that have made huge strides in developing novel diagnostic technologies in response to Covid-19 - to apply and win the £8 million prize.


Sir Patrick Vallance, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Longitude Prize Committee member said:
“Rapid diagnostic testing has been essential to control Covid-19. But for many years, the world has been contending with an equally vicious challenge – the ability of bacterial infections to outwit even our strongest antibiotics. Within three decades we are on course to see 10 million people a year die from a drug resistant infection. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, I am calling on diagnostic test innovators to apply the enormous advances they have made in tackling Covid-19 to the threat of antibiotic resistance to stave off the scenario of a world without effective antibiotic treatments.”

Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy for Antimicrobial Resistance, former Chief Medical Officer of England and Longitude Prize Committee member said:
“The Longitude Prize has successfully focused great minds on the challenge of developing tests that will avoid unnecessary dispensing or misuse of antibiotics. Now, the pressure is on for test developers to complete their validation and prove that their tests can win the £8 million prize. With 50 well-advanced teams already in the running, there is still time for new teams of innovators to submit their novel diagnostic tests and win.” 

The decision to re-assess tests submitted to the judging panel on 30th September 2022 is based on expert advice that a diagnostic test delivering a result in up to 60-minutes would provide significant clinical utility and impact on clinical decision-making, helping clinicians to prescribe an effective antibiotic in the first instance.  Test developers must demonstrate that the time-to-result of their test is in line with current clinical practice in the clinical pathway where the test will be used, the challenges of adoption, and how these will be overcome. 


Diagnostic test innovators have two final opportunities to submit their solutions for review on 31st May and finally 30th  September 2022. 


In June 2021, the G7 released its 100 Days Mission to respond to future pandemic threats, highlighting the urgent need to tackle antibiotic resistance. It said that, “linking differential diagnostics with effective therapeutics will help tackle [antibiotic resistance]. Covid-19 has starkly shown the importance of the effective use of diagnostics in concert with public health control measures and clinical care in containing and managing an infectious disease outbreak”.

The Longitude Prize was launched in 2014. The British public chose for it to focus on antibiotic resistance following a nationwide vote in partnership with the BBC. The Longitude Prize is delivered by Nesta Challenges, the UK’s leading authority on the design and delivery of challenge prizes to incentivise innovation to overcome the greatest challenges of our time, and is funded by Innovate UK and Nesta. 

To find out more about the prize, or to submit an innovation for consideration by the Longitude Prize judges, visit

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Last Updated: 13-Apr-2022