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Longitude Prize UPSC NOTE

 Longitude Prize on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

  • Longitude Prize on Antimicrobial Resistance (first announced in 2014), revealed its winner at an event in London’s Science Museum : The PA-100 AST System from Sysmex Astrego, is a high-tech, transformative, rapid, point-of-care test for UTIs (Urinary Tract Infection)

  • The Longitude Prize on AMR intends to incentivise the creation of new diagnostic tests that in a matter of minutes, can identify whether an infection is bacterial and, if so, the right antibiotic to prescribe to slow the spread of antibiotic resistant infections.

  • The goal is to replace the 2-3-day lab test process that doctors and patients must currently endure, and end “just in case” prescribing that is prevalent as a result, which promotes the development of antibiotic resistance

  • British government announces the Longitude Prize


Importance of the PA-100 AST System

  • PA-100 AST System has developed a transformative technology based on a phenotypic test

  • This test identifies the bacteria causing the urinary tract infection and performs antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) to determine the effective antibiotic for the specific patient in under 45 minutes.

  • The test uses a single-use cartridge, in which a millilitre of the urine is added 

  • Bacteria in the urine are trapped in over 10,000 microfluidic traps in parallel arrays and exposed to five different antibiotics at five different concentrations. 

  • The cartridge is inserted into a reader instrument, where bacterial growth is monitored by phase-contrast imaging. 

Comparison with Existing Tests

  • Currently, there are two types of tests available to diagnose urinary infections.

  • The first one is the urine dipstick test that can be done as a point-of-care test

  • Point-of-care diagnostic tests are tests that can be performed in the clinic, emergency departments, hospital wards, or pharmacy counters, without the need to send the sample to a laboratory

  • The advantage of the dipstick is that results are available in a couple of minutes, which helps doctors decide whether to start antibiotics or not

  • Unfortunately, accuracy is not more than 50–60%

  • Even if the doctor carries out a dipstick despite its limitations, the test doesn’t help the doctor choose the right antibiotic.

  • For this, the urine sample must be sent to the laboratory for culture

  • The culture results take a minimum of 2–3 days

  • But the doctor cannot wait 2–3 days to start an antibiotic. 

  • So, even if the doctor sends a urine sample for culture, they still have to start an antibiotic empirically, based on educated guesswork, before the culture results are ready

  • By this time, the patient has already completed a full or half course of antibiotics. 

  • Such blind antibiotic prescriptions are a major cause of the antibiotic resistance crisis, especially in countries like India.

Historical Context and Goals of the Longitude Prize

  • In 1714, the British government announced the Longitude Prize to solve the longitude problem, literally.

  • To determine the position of a ship, both latitude and longitude are needed. 

  • Latitude was easy to measure by observing the sun, moon, and stars, but longitude was a mystery.

  • The British government announced the Longitude Prize for an invention that helps calculate longitude. 

  • John Harrison, a watchmaker, invented an ingenious device that could calculate longitude perfectly and won the prize.

  • 300 years after the first Longitude Prize, Britain launched a second Longitude Prize

  • The public was asked to vote for a major challenge that needed an immediate solution, such as global warming, food shortages, and water shortages. 

  • The public voted for Antimicrobial Resistance.

  • A £ 10 million Longitude Prize was announced in 2014. 

  • Of this, £ 2 million was awarded to various innovators to refine their technology. 

  • The final winner receives £ 8 million.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Longitude Prize UPSC NOTE
Longitude Prize UPSC NOTE
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