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Briefings and Position Statements

The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently announced changes to the dosing schedule for the two approved COVID-19 vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech) of a 12-week gap between first and second dose, based on recommendations from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). We have produced a statement that lays out our position on these announcements.

On World Antibiotics Awareness week (13-19 November 2017), the House of Commons held a general debate on Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). For this, we provided a briefing outlining the how immunology could contribute in the battle against AMR. The increasing threat of AMR to antibiotics is a global problem with an estimated 700,000 deaths occurring every year as a result of AMR infections. Immunological research has the potential to find alternative infectious disease interventions, both preventative and therapeutic, such as novel vaccines and immunotherapy.

Transplantation is the process of moving cells, tisues or organs from one site to another for the purpose of replacing or repaing damaged or diseased organs and tissues. It saves thousands of lives each year. However, the immune system poses a significant barrier to successful organ transplantation when tissues/organs are transferred from one individual to another. 

An allergy is an unnecessary immune response to an innocuous substance. Examples of common substances people are allergic to include pollens, dust mites, insect venom and food such as nuts or shellfish. Allergies can range in severity with the most extreme symptoms seen in anaphylaxis. Every year in the UK, the number of allergy cases increases, mainly in children. This briefing should help illustrate how allergy develops and possible reasons for increasing prevalence. 

Immunodeficiency disorders result in a full or partial impairment of the immune system. Primary immunodeficiencies are the result of genetic defects, and secondary immunodeficiencies are caused by environmental factors, such as HIV/AIDS or malnutrition. This briefing explains the two different types of immunodeficiencies and how they are currently treated. It also discusses the future research required in this field to develop better curative treatments for these immune disorders.

This position statement outlines the BSI’s views on the use of animals in scientific research.