Microbiology: a review of changing practices and the future

Published: 19-Jan-2018

Celebrating an impressive 25 years, the Annual Pharmig Conference, held just outside Oxford in November, focussed on the past, present and future of pharmaceutical microbiology. Angharad Kolator Baldwin reports on the event

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This two-day event is held every November by Pharmig — a professional, not-for-profit organisation for those who work in, or alongside, microbiology departments within pharmaceutical, cosmetics or healthcare sectors. To celebrate 25 years of this annual event, the organisers decided to reflect back and to look at how microbiology methods have changed in the last 25 years, as well as looking ahead to future developments. This report provides highlights of the first day’s presentations and gives a brief outline of the second day’s programme.

To start the first morning David Begg, ex-medicines inspector and microbiologist, Sharon Johnson, looked at how microbiology has changed. Johnson commented on how much is now different in the world 30 years later, in regards to the speed and immediacy in which information is now available with the internet and new technology, in fact leading to an information overload. And although the same things are being tested in a microbiology lab there are more tests that can now be conducted, leading to a lot of data, which is not always processed in the best possible way.

Johnson commented on how pre-prepared media, disposable and pre-sterile consumables and increased automation has led to some companies believing less-qualified microbiologists are sufficient in the lab, while increased outsourcing and cross-functional team members means the required microbiological understanding is not as readily available.

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