Horizon Prize 1 Million goes to Industry, Philips, the other 45k goes to NGOs fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

Horizon Prize 1 Million goes to Industry, Philips, the other 45k goes to NGOs fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

Posted on February 7, 2017

This shows the difference between EU Commissioners Moedas (Research) and Andriukaitis (Health). More important, the event took place in the KUL, Leuven, clearly embracing Moedas billions, but that’s fine, its anyway a struggle to survive in the academic ecosystem. What is more surprising is that we were in the old hospital (Groot Begijnhof) in the room ‘Infirmière’, but all high-level speakers did not mention once the word ‘nurse’, knowing nurses are the most frontline combatting Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) daily. So, what’s wrong with the rhetoric? Why an award of 1 Million euro, The Horizon Prize, goes to an industry who developed a tool, a helpful tool, which they will sell anyway. Minicare NHL, a company who developed together with Philips a finger prick test that can diagnose in less than 10 min a bacterial infection. On second and 3rd place are: Pulmo Check, who developed a device that detect a bacterial infection from body fluids in 2-6 minutes, and Immuno Poc, a finger prick test that can differentiate between bacterial and viral infection within 15 minutes. We will need to follow up how this rapid test, identifying at the point of GP consultation patients with upper respiratory tract infections that can safely be managed without antibiotics, will impact on the less then 10min GP consultation, or keep the elderly in the Community setting. Perhaps the tool will have also a positive side effect.

Frontline care providers, mainly nurses, try to turn around the terrible statistics. Each year 25.000 people die in the European Union (EU), while the extra healthcare costs and productivity loses, associated with AMR represent €1.5 billion. Considering, AMR issue, significant activities are taking place at European and global level. However, the frontline voice is not heard by Moedas, nor by Andriukaitis. They should read the EFN Position Paper on Nurses Combating Antimicrobial Resistance and start realising that excluding Civil Society from Joint Actions will lead to national action plans, who will not be implemented, as there is simply no engagement of frontline. However, nurse prescribing guidelines has shown that medication reconciliation is key to get citizens healthier.

The message to Moedas is clear: research and innovation will stay on library shelves and in the labs as long as frontline clinicians, nurses, women, are not part of the equation. Horizon 2020 will need to research WITH civil society and not only ABOUT civil society challenges. The Joint Actions will only have concrete and implementable deliverables, if civil society stays a partner, not an observer. Only then the EU millions will be spent wisely and will reach the EU Citizens.