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BSI response to Select Committee report on UK response to the COVID pandemic

12 October 2021

The House of Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Select Committees have today published a joint report 'Coronavirus: lessons learned to date' examining the UK's initial response to the Covid pandemic. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement. 

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of British Society for Immunology, said:

“We welcome this joint report from the Select Committees on the UK’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, we are likely to be faced with other pandemic situations in the future and it’s important that we learn lessons from the current situation to improve future responses.

“As the report rightly points out, the UK’s research base has made a hugely positive contribution to hastening control of the pandemic. This includes through the development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, in particular the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as one of the most successful outcomes of the UK’s response. Additionally, the coming together of the research community, through a ‘team science’ approach, to speed up our understanding of COVID-19 has also vastly benefitted the UK’s response to the pandemic.  These achievements were only possible due to substantial investment and strategic focus on life sciences research in the preceding years. We must learn from this experience to continue to invest in the UK’s science base and deliver on existing Government commitments to increase spending on R&D to 2.4%GDP by 2027. The UK leads the world for the quality of our immunology research and we should be grateful to all the researchers, clinical staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to increase our knowledge of COVID-19, bringing about significant improvements to patient care and to the vaccine rollout.  We now have the opportunity to build on this learning to put the infrastructure, focus and expertise in place to allow us to maintain momentum and plan for a range of future pandemic scenarios.”

The full joint report from the House of Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Select Committees can be viewed here