SAGE conflicts of interest ZOE HARCOMBE

November 9, 2020 conflicts of interestCOVID-19


The 20 key influencers

In what follows: GCSA = Government Chief Scientific Advisor, CSA = Chief Scientific Advisor, CMO = Chief Medical Officer and LSHTM = London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Please note that the references for the table are reported separately at the end of this note.


Examination of the 20 key influencers on SAGE reveals NOT ONE IMMUNOLOGIST:

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Examination of the 20 key influencers on SAGE reveals the following:

11 out of 20 work for the government 

12 out of 20 work for/have received funding from organisations involved in the Covid-19 vaccine. Those 12 don’t include Vallance with personal pharmaceutical conflicts or Whitty with historical funding from the Gates foundation. Three work for Imperial College and two work for Oxford University – the two forerunners in the Covid-19 vaccine race in the UK – each receiving millions of pounds from government(s). Three more work for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with its own vaccine centre (working on Covid-19 among other vaccines). One works for UCL, which is working with Imperial on its vaccine. Two work for Wellcome/the Wellcome Sanger Institute and one has received funding from the latter. Two members have double conflicts – Peter Horby with Oxford University and Wellcome and Wendy Barclay with Imperial College and Wellcome.

5 are Chief Scientific Advisors in government (2 of these are modellers/statisticians); 4 more are modellers/statisticians, 2 are experts in how to manipulate human behaviour, 3 are medical officers/directors, 3 hold senior roles in the 2 universities leading the vaccine race, and 3 work for/have been funded by Wellcome (as above, 2 of the university members also have conflicts with Wellcome.)

There are no immunologists among the key influencers on the SAGE committee. There are only two virologists. 


The two behaviour experts among the key influencers have also collaborated on this controversial paper.  The following extract from the paper has been widely cited as evidence to show how fear has been used to coerce UK citizens: “A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened… The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard‐hitting emotional messaging based on accurate information about risk.”The paper has sections on coercion, compulsion and how to harness “social disapproval” to coerce people into doing what government wants them to do.