Scientists at Norwich Research Park given award for contribution towards fighting antibiotic resistance

L-R: Professor David Russell and Professor Rob Field, who have won an international award.

L-R: Professor David Russell and Professor Rob Field, who have won an international award. - Credit: Archant

Two researchers are challenging for a £10m prize research fund after winning an international award for their battle against antibiotic resistance.

Professor David Russell and Professor Rob Field, of University of East Anglia's School of Chemistry and the John Innes Centre respectively, were presented with a Longitude Prize Discovery Award at the Royal Society Awards in London on Monday.

The society is the UK's national academy of science.

Professor Russell and Professor Field won the award for their method of performing a rapid diagnostic test to quickly identify bacterias that can cause disease.

Fighting antibiotic resistence, when microbes resist treatments such as antibiotics, is one of the biggest challenges facing medicine today.

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The duo, based at Norwich Research Park, created a diagnostic test which saw tiny samples being dipped into a solution of sugar labelled with gold.

Results are indicated by a rapid colour change, and the test is much faster than existing methods of testing.

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This removes the need to send samples to laboratories for testing and allows much faster decisions to be made about appropriate antibiotic treatment.

The pair are one of 12 teams who will now develop their technology further and compete for the £10m prize fund which is given to creators of a test that most fully addresses antibiotic resistance.

Professor Russell said: 'We are delighted. This discovery award has given us further motivation that we are working on an important international medical problem and heading in the right direction to try and solve the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.'

Professor Field added: 'It is great to receive recognition for our efforts to take basic science through to potential products for medicine and agriculture.'

It is hoped the diagnostic test could dramatically reduce the number of unnecessary use of antibiotics, which occurs across the world today.

Estimates suggest drug-resistant infections kill up to 50,000 people every year in Europe and USA.

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