In March 2017, Michael Gilmore, PhD, Director of the Harvard Infectious Disease Institute, chaired a blue ribbon panel that reviewed the most promising applications for the Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge--a $20 million federal prize competition to develop innovative, rapid point-of-care laboratory diagnostic tests to combat the development, and spread, of drug resistant bacteria.
The National Institutes of Health teamed up with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to fund this initiative. Semifinalists will receive $50,000 to develop prototypes and analytical data for their diagnostic devices. Finalists will be selected at the end of 2018, and the winner(s) will be announced in July 2020.
“Being asked to lead the blue ribbon panel for the NIH challenge is quite an honor,” said Dr. Gilmore “Developing quick and accurate diagnostic tests is of the utmost importance, and this initiative dovetails nicely with our efforts here in the Infectious Disease Institute.”
A leading expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Gilmore is a principal investigator of the NIH/NIAID-funded Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance. He founded, and now organizes, the annual meeting of the Boston Area Antibiotic Resistance Network, which includes experts from academia and industry. Also dedicated to raising awareness about antibiotic resistance in the Boston area, he anchored a Harvard Longwood Symposium on antibiotic resistance in March called, “Resistance Movement: Drugs, bugs and the fight against über‐germs.”
Antibiotic-resistant infections have become a global health problem, and drug companies are hesitant to fund the development of new antibiotics, citing cost and difficulty as major deterrents. Of the 40 “new” antibiotics in clinical trials, nearly all are slightly modified versions of existing drugs for which resistance already has emerged.