New research finds 74% of UK public support test before antibiotic prescriptions

14 November 2016 (Last Updated November 14th, 2016 18:30)

New research published by Longitude Prize has revealed that nearly 74% of the UK public support a compulsory test for bacterial infection before deciding to seek out antibiotics.

New research published by Longitude Prize has revealed that nearly 74% of the UK public support a compulsory test for bacterial infection before deciding to seek out antibiotics.

Longitude Prize is run by UK’s innovation foundation Nesta and is a global challenge with a £10m prize fund that seeks the development of a new, affordable and rapid diagnostic test to solve the problem of antibiotic resistance.

The test is intended to reduce over-prescription of drugs, which is the primary aim of the World Health Organisation’s 2016 campaign Antibiotics: Handle with Care.

Longitude Prize Committee and Prize Advisory Panel member and England chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said: “It is often assumed that people actively seek out antibiotics, but evidence indicates that people do not want to take medication unless it is really necessary.

"It is often assumed that people actively seek out antibiotics, but evidence indicates that people do not want to take medication unless it is really necessary."

“Instead they want to get accurate information to get the right treatment.

“The development of a test that can tell people whether or not they need to be prescribed antibiotics would help to stop the growing and deadly threat of antibiotic resistance in its tracks.”

Misuse of antibiotics is predicted to claim up to ten million lives worldwide each year by 2050.

The general practitioners are being directed to curb overprescription of antibiotics, with the UK Government targeting a 50% reduction in prescriptions by 2020, while patients are advised not to use class of drugs until required.

Longitude Prize lead at Nesta Daniel Berman said: “The unnecessary over-prescription of antibiotics is one of the major factors in the growth of resistant strains of disease.

“If we do not improve the way we use antibiotics and resistance continues to rise, simple infections could become life-threatening, as was the case before the advent of penicillin in 1928.”