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The House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee today (Wednesday 18th December) held their first evidence session as part of their inquiry into antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Society submitted a response to the Committee’s initial consultation and was subsequently asked to present a witness to give oral evidence at this session.

Pat Goodwin, Honorary Treasurer and Society of Biology Council Member, presented to the Committee on behalf of the Society and our membership. Pat worked as a researcher and lecturer in microbiology before joining the Wellcome Trust as a senior manager in 1990. She managed the Molecular and Cell Panel, the Infection and Immunity Panel and the Functional Genomics Development Panel before taking over responsibility for the portfolio and strategy development in Infectious Disease and Populations and Public Health. She is also a member of the Council of the Society for General Microbiology and a member of the International Steering Group of the Public Population Project in Genomics.

During the session, Pat outlined the Society’s views in this crucial area and reiterated key points from our consultation response. The Society welcomed the recent publication of the Government’s five-year antimicrobial resistance strategy but maintained that only a global, multi-faceted strategy involving increased investment in research and development priorities would serve to counter the serious threat of AMR. The Society emphasised that global surveillance is required as well as increased research in areas such as drug metabolism, gut flora, rapid diagnostics and new antimicrobial therapies including drugs. Industry will also have a key role to play and it is important that the perceived lack of return in investment in antimicrobial research is addressed.

Further evidence sessions will be held in early January 2014.