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Beating the superbugs

We may have a breakthrough in fighting “one of the greatest threats to human health”

By Philip Ball   April 2015


If there is some small comfort to be found amid the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it’s that the severity of the problem is now common knowledge. The public vote that decided the target of the Longitude Prize 2014—a UK competition that channelled £10m towards a “grand challenge”—selected “preventing antibiotic resistance” from a shortlist of six worthy candidates.

No one imagines that this prize will solve the problem, but its specific objective—a point-of-care diagnostic test that would determine whether a patient’s condition warrants antibiotics, and if so, which ones—would be extremely valuable. Indiscriminate…

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