Following the 15th meeting of the Emergency Committee, the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Dr Julian Tang, Honorary Associate Professor/Clinical Virologist, Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, said:
“The WHO’s decision to downgrade COVID-19 from a PHEIC is reasonable – though healthcare inequalities around COVID-19 and other diseases still remain.
“As I predicted several times earlier, the virus will tend to evolve towards a more transmissible, less severe infection over time, eventually becoming another seasonal respiratory virus, like influenza and the other seasonal coronaviruses.
“This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any severe infections – seasonal influenza fills up our ICUs each winter – but we are now more able to treat them effectively, though there will still be some deaths.
“It is notable that COVID-19 vaccine boosters and updates are becoming less frequently announced – likely due to the perception that Omicron and its variants are overall causing less severe disease.
“What we need now to maintain this monitoring is a global surveillance system, like we have for influenza, but this is only useful if a coordinated vaccine production and distribution system can be put in place and maintained which requires substantial funding.
“I am curious to see if this occurs, given the relatively fragmented and inequitable approach to COVID-19 that we have seen during the pandemic.”
Prof Thomas House, Professor of Mathematical Statistics, University of Manchester, said:
“Absence of a PHEIC associated with it does not imply that a disease is not causing significant ongoing mortality and morbidity. Infections like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV continue to represent some of the most significant problems to human health worldwide and have never been associated with PHEICS. Pathogens associated with previous PHEICS like Zika and H1N1 influenza continue to circulate. The WHO’s decision, therefore, is as stated in the Director General’s statement, mainly an acknowledgement that there is not the special need for emergency attention at the international level there was at the start of the pandemic. Of course how to deal with COVID-19 should remain a significant part of health policy throughout the world. There cannot be a perfect time to make this decision, but it reduces the impact of each PHEIC if they never end and so the call has to be made at some point.”
Prof Trudie Lang, Director of the Global Health Network, University of Oxford, said:
“As the WHO announce that COVID is no longer a public health emergency it is important to really consider what we have learnt and what we can take forward to prevent the next disease outbreak becoming a global catastrophe.
“Research is our route out. We all learnt that immediately there is a new outbreak we need to be able to characterise and understand the threat, we need to able to test people, and so need affordable, practical and scalable diagnostics. We then need to understand how it is transmitted so we can reduce the spread and then we of course need drugs to treat and vaccines to prevent illness. This is vital and a whole ecosystem of different types of research and all elements are important to successfully tackle a new threat.
“True preparedness to firstly spot and stop a new threat needs research abilities in place in every healthcare setting across the globe. This means local ability to undertake ongoing surveillance, to conduct clinical observational research, taking samples and patient information. Also social science to determine community perspectives and behaviours in order to implement any vital public health measures that could be the crucial and immediate way to stop a new outbreak, because drugs and vaccines will be months away, even in the best case, and which point clinical trials will be needed. And these will also need all these other forms of data to run meaningful trials that can generate safe and effective vaccines and treatments.
“It’s no good to think that we can train health workers to be ‘research ready’ for the next outbreak. The best, and I would argue only, approach is to train and support healthcare workers within their roles to undertake all these types of research and use these systems and skills to tackle the everyday diseases that impact their patients. Providing these skills is a win-win because not only could this generate new evidence to tackle everyday disease threats, but also provides the reassurance that should a new threat emerge, then it would be spotted and stop quickly because the right skills and awareness where already active and in place.
“During COVID there was vast global inequity of the response with most of the research happening in wealthier countries. Too much research funding was spent inefficiently asking the same questions in the same populations. We needed more diversity and breadth of research.
“Research success happened where there was connectedness with the healthcare system between researchers and the care settings. The UK was able to generate so much data with the RECOVERY trial because the research system is so embedded within the national health system. Globally, we need research systems with all healthcare settings if we are to build back from covid and take forward all we have learnt.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), said:
“I’m pleased to see that the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee has reached a consensus view that we have now come through the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this effectively acknowledges that the worst and most deadly phase of the pandemic is over, it’s important to recognise that we will all be living with COVID-19 and its effects for a long time to come.”
Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, UEA, said:
“That WHO declared the PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) over now was not surprising for all the reasons in the WHO statement. But it should be made clear that a PHEIC and a pandemic are not necessarily the same thing. WHO makes declarations on a PHEIC not on whether something is or is not a pandemic, though they do try for a uniformity of use of the term “pandemic” in their own communications.
“We have known since very early in the pandemic that SARS-CoV-2 infection was here to stay and that it would become an endemic viral infection of humans. So we were never going to see a point where the pandemic ended. And if we will not see an obvious endpoint to the pandemic then choosing a time to lift the PHEIC was always going to be a partly subjective decision.
“This does not mean that the pandemic is over and that we won’t see ongoing health issues as a result of the pandemic (both from the long-term consequences of covid and its associated control measures). But these issues are getting less and less with passing time.
“For any highly transmissible infection like covid where immunity is short lasting, as it becomes endemic the main driver of infection rates becomes the rate at which immunity to infection is lost and the impact of behavioural modifications to reduce transmission becomes less effective. So the impact of any concerted attempts to reduce transmission become less effect at controlling the infection and the need for international cooperation to reduce transmission falls.
“To a large extent almost all countries have been moving away from treating covid as an emergency over the past year and so the WHO statement will probably not have a huge impact on current policy and practice.
“So personally, I think the lifting of the PHEIC at this point was the correct decision. It recognises the falling impact that covid has on our lives and especially on our health services. It also recognises the fact that most countries are no longer treating it as the emergency it was even a year ago.”
Prof Amitava Banerjee, Professor of Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, UCL, said:
“The declaration by World Health Organization that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) was expected and reflects the end of the acute phase of the global threat. However, the WHO statement also warns countries to stay vigilant and that although the “emergency may have ended, the threat is still there”.
“COVID-19 is here to stay, and its toll is far beyond the 7 million deaths it has caused directly. It has led to huge indirect effects on health systems, and a major burden of Long Covid in most countries. Our future response to and preparedness for pandemics should include efforts to mitigate against these indirect and longer-term effects as well, since they may cause greater burden of disease than the acute phase of a pandemic.
“We should implement the lessons we have painfully learned over the last three years: with continued monitoring for new variants, reducing spread wherever possible, and appropriate use of vaccinations and antiviral agents, particularly in individuals at high risk from the effects of COVID-19.”
Dr Benjamin Neuman, Professor of Biology and GHRC Chief Virologist, Texas A&M University, said:
“This bittersweet announcement seems more a white flag than a cause for celebration. While there has been profound progress, I think this decision reflects the political reality of COVID more clearly than the medical situation.
“It is important that as COVID continues, the good work that has been done in making new treatments and vaccines available to every person in every country also continues. Because, as we have learned, when anyone, anywhere is sick, we all share a measure of that risk.”
Prof Stephen Griffin, Professor of Cancer Virology, University of Leeds, said:
“The WHO declaring an end to the COVID-19 emergency this week has multiple implications and it’s vital that we understand and consider what these are. First and foremost, the interpretation of this decision is something that the WHO provide very clear guidance on, namely that even if we do climb down from the state of emergency, there should remain robust measures to continue dealing with the impact of SARS-CoV2 going forward. One does not simply flick a switch and declare a pandemic, especially one so damaging and of such scale, as being over.
“This guidance comprises 5 pillars – collaborative surveillance, protecting communities, accessing countermeasures (vaccines and therapeutics), safe and scalable healthcare, and emergency coordination. The issue we have is that the policy of several countries, including the UK, is to move to a longer-term plan for COVID management that fundamentally fails to provide any of these at the recommended level. This naturally incurs a human cost that disproportionately affects those most vulnerable both in health and socio-economic terms. This focus upon individual, rather than population-scale risk is against most principles of public health. We understand how to deal with this virus, so to not implement UK-wide mitigations that allow vulnerable people to both re-engage with life alongside others with greater benefits from vaccines, whilst future-proofing vs other infections and pollution, seems like an abject wasted opportunity.
“The main danger then, is complacency. Not just amongst the public, but from Governments as well. However, we must also remember that to take this “living with” approach comes from a position of privilege – richer countries with better healthcare systems that could afford the best vaccines had, and continue to have a clear advantage over others, many of which have yet to even complete primary vaccination programmes on any scale. It seems staggering then that some of these richer countries suffered such high mortality and morbidity. Indeed, long COVID undermines the flawed concept of merely allowing SARS-CoV2 to spread unchecked amongst populations.
“Thus, WHO must take the decision on the emergency (PHEIC) from a global perspective. Many countries continue to experience damaging waves of infection, including the UK, with 1000s still dying every week. Although the emergency is declared over, the pandemic in technical terms remains, and will continue to do so as long as multiple countries continue to experience large, unpredictable waves arising due to ongoing, rapid, virus evolution. Moreover, waning immunity, including the slower decline in protection from severe disease continues, and will likely accelerate in the absence of improved and/or continued widespread vaccination schemes. The fact that we appear to now favour infection-induced immunity rather than vaccines remains astonishing.
“To sum up, I would urge governments to adopt both the precautionary as well as the liberating aspects of this decision. We must not leave people behind for the sake of individual freedoms, we need comprehensive public health guidance.”
Prof Tom Solomon, Director of The Pandemic Institute, University of Liverpool, said:
“This is very encouraging news that the WHO have declared the emergency over. This is based on the number of cases and the number of deaths which have now dropped below the threshold. However, the virus has not gone away, and we need to remain vigilant, especially from the risk of new variants. This is also a good opportunity to take stock, and think about the lessons learnt, that will help protect us from future emerging infections and pandemic threats.”
Prof Mark Jit, Professor of Vaccine Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:
“We’ve come a long way since the dark days of 2020, in reducing the threat that COVID is to our lives, our livelihood, and our way of life. This is thanks to infections being less severe nowadays because of the immunity we’ve build up from vaccination, and sadly, also from most people having been infected by many different variants of the virus already. So WHO is right to declare that the emergency phase of COVID is over.
“But COVID is still with us, and will continue to infect people for many years to come. So we’ll need to invest in our healthcare systems to cope with all the extra people needing care every year. We’ll need to ensure that people get their booster doses if the virus continues to mutate. And above all, the world will need to work together so that we’ll be better prepared for such emergencies in the future – whether they are caused by a deadly new variant of the COVID virus, or by a completely new microbe we’ve never seen before.”
Prof Muhammad Munir, Professor of Virology and Viral Zoonoses, Lancaster University, said:
Is this a sensible decision?
“Given the availability of mitigation tools and technologies to handle the infection including timely detection, global immunization, wider awareness and installed infrastructure, it is a justified decision. Alleviating the public health emergency also means distribution of funds and resources to lingering other infections which pose risks to health and put strains on healthcare.
Is this an evidence-based decision?
“The debate on the continued global health emergency has been circulating in scientific communities for the last year, and our general consensus was that COVID-19 still posed a significant risk both in regular infection and long covid. However, the inertia of the COVID-19 is certainly weakened from hundreds of thousands of deaths per week to a few thousands deaths per week, around the globe.
Will the WHO have taken into account appropriate evidence when making this decision?
“The virus will carry on mutating, transmitting and infecting people, and vulnerable cohorts will either end up in hospital or succumb to infection. This is not unique to COVID-19, it applies to all diseases unfortunately. The WHO decision is supportive of a balanced approach to think, plan and apply plans on weakness and problems associated with other bacterial and viral infections causing equal if not more impact on health.
Is this a decision about the global status – how does this compare with the situation in the UK?
“A large population in the UK has antibodies against SARS-COV-2 either through vaccination or natural infections. The supply of vaccines which are effective and safe further put thick economies such as UK in an advantageous position.”
Prof Andrew Lee, Professor of Public Health, University of Sheffield, said:
“After three long years we can now declare the pandemic emergency over. But let us not forget that the harm done to public health has been considerable with many lives lost, livelihoods damaged, and many still harbour the long term consequences of long COVID.
“There is also a pandemic legacy – we now have a new human coronavirus that will continue to blight human populations into the future. Make no mistake, the emergency may be over, but the virus can still pose a threat for vulnerable members of our communities such as the elderly and those with certain health conditions, just like influenza and other pathogens.
“There may be a benefit too – the pandemic has given the world a wake up call of the need to strengthen disease surveillance and disease control globally, including ensuring the ability of poorer nations to better access lifesaving treatments and vaccines. There is also a need to build on the considerable research undertaken as well as learn the lessons of how we responded, so that we are better prepared for future pandemics.”
Prof Lawrence Young, Director of Cancer Research Centre, University of Warwick, said:
“WHO have previously stated that we are at a transition point where the health burden of acute covid is lessening due to protective immunity from previous infections and vaccinations and to continued surveillance of infections and variants. While this is technically an evidence-based decision, we can’t predict what the covid virus will do next as it continues to change so it’s not easy to declare a definitive end as has happened with previous pandemics such as swine flu or with seasonal flu outbreaks.
“WHO decision about the covid pandemic is tied up with how you define a pandemic. The term usually applies to an emerging threat that is spreading across multiple countries. That’s been the case for covid for 3 years now and we are still technically in an ongoing pandemic as there is, and will be for the foreseeable future, sustained transmission across multiple countries alongside a significant burden of hospitalisations and deaths.
“As the Director General states ‘This virus is here to stay. It is still killing, and it’s still changing. The risk remains of new variants emerging that cause new surges in cases and deaths.’ That’s why we need very careful messaging that doesn’t lead to even more complacency. Countries mustn’t abandon public health measures such as vaccination of high priority groups and need to maintain surveillance to detect, assess and monitor the spread of emerging variants.
“Learning to live with covid doesn’t mean ignoring the virus. For the clinically vulnerable and immunosuppressed, the virus remains very dangerous. There is also the burden from the long term effects of covid which will continue to affect millions of people with significant implications for the individual’s wellbeing and for healthcare systems.”
Dr Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology, University of Reading, said:
“The decision of the WHO that the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer a public health emergency of international concern has as much to do with politics and gut instinct as it does with data.
“We should remember that covid is still out there, it is still infecting people and troubling doctors and hospitals. But, in many parts of the world, people have grown weary of efforts to contain it, and politicians have responded to the background hum of covid cases with a deafening silence.
“The data from around the world suggests that the wild peaks and troughs of infections and deaths have levelled out, as populations have developed immunity from previous infections and vaccines.
“In the UK, we have largely given up trying to prevent or count infections. The virus geek’s halcyon days of having live, open-access data, which we all pored over in 2021, are long gone. Yet some data remains, and shows that covid is still an active and present danger to British public health. As well as ONS surveys, we can see the troughs in the waves of hospitalisations have been gradually increasing over time, suggesting a waning of immunity, or an increase in circulating virus in the population, or both.
“The WHO is an important, but a largely technical branch of the UN. They are not the Security Council in white coats and stethoscopes. Declaring a different status for the covid pandemic is less about leading the world’s public health action in a new direction, as it is about following where most nations have already gone.
“There is a risk that people forget that there is anything to worry about. Unfortunately, there is. The message to the public should still be to take care and think of others. If you’re ill with a respiratory infection, like a bad cough, don’t put others at risk, especially not those who are vulnerable. Don’t go out hugging your elderly neighbours at your Coronation street party, because if you pass on a covid infection, noone will thank you. If you’re fit and young, covid can still be nasty, and if you’re old and frail, it can kill you.”
Prof James Naismith FRS FMedSci, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and University of Oxford, said:
“The WHO have clear criteria for what constitutes a public health emergency of international concern and covid19 no longer meets their test. The WHO are clear it remains an ongoing and very serious disease. The UK death toll of 225,000 and many more injured through long covid19 / infection complications (and still increasing) is, we must hope, a once in generation catastrophe. The effects of the covid19 emergency will be felt for many years to come. Only the development of effective vaccines in record time saved the UK and the world from almost unimaginable horror. There is no better argument for the value of scientific research as an insurance policy than this. Our attention should turn to how we learn to do better next time, there are discouraging signs that we are not moving as quickly as we could.”
Prof Susan Michie, Director of UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, UCL, said:
“Whether Covid-19 is labelled a global pandemic or not, many countries around the world are experiencing significant waves of infection, with 1000s dying every week; this will continue for the foreseeable future whilst there is no global effort to reduce Covid-19, and hence no global effort to reduce the likelihood of damaging new variants. As well as increasing vaccine equity and uptake, and ensuring safe air for all, that effort should include the range of social and behavioural measures shown to be effective. In the UK, in addition to suffering 1000s of deaths from Covid-19 each week, there have been around 90,000 hospitalisations with Covid-19 this year, around 1.7 million people are living with Long Covid 12 weeks after infection, and sickness absence rates have risen 50% since 2020. The impact of all of this on the UK economy has been noted in many quarters.
“Now, as much as ever, we need a population-wide approach to driving down Covid-19 infections. An evidence-based strategy to reduce transmission is outlined in the final report from SAGE’s behavioural science advisory group, published on April 30th 2021 and released by the Government three months later in the run up to July 19th 2021 (“Freedom Day”). It had no fanfare then and has had little attention since. It addressed a key question: How to sustain behaviours to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the long-term after rules governing protective behaviours are lifted1.
“The report advises the Government to
“The WHO’s decision that Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern will achieve wide press coverage. It is hoped that the press will also publicise the damaging health, social and economic consequences of allowing Covid-19 to spread without concerted effort to reduce transmission, and highlight the steps that could and should be taken as outlined in this report, and others addressing the all-important issue of promoting safe air for all. It is also hoped that the Government will attend to (if not “follow”) this advice that has been on their desk for the last two years.”
Dr Kit Yates, Co-Director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology, University of Bath, said:
“The criteria for PHEICs are: 1 that it is an extraordinary event, 2 that it constitutes a public health risk to other states through international spread of disease and 3 that it potentially requires a coordinated international response.
“It’s hard to say that covid is an extraordinary event any more. It has also infiltrated every country with most countries having largely or completely given up on controlling its spread. There is no doubt, however, that international cooperation in tackling covid, for example in distributing vaccines equitably is still very much required.
“Importantly this declaration from the WHO doesn’t mean that covid isn’t still an issue and it doesn’t mean there isn’t more we can do to help reduce its spread and diminish its impact on the health of the population.”
Prof Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, said:
“Today’s announcement by the WHO that Covid-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern is the start of a new phase in humanity’s relationship with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“The ending of the emergency is emphatically not the end of Covid-19 as a public health problem. Rather, it is a recognition that we are no longer seeing major surges in infections, severe illness and death. Hopefully, the large wave in China at the beginning of the year – precipitated by that country’s abrupt exit from their Zero Covid strategy – will be the last event of such magnitude.
“This change in the epidemiology of Covid-19 is the result of herd immunity building up in populations around the world, thanks to a combination of vaccination coverage and natural exposure to the virus. Herd immunity was always how the pandemic phase would end, sooner or later. We were always going to have to live with the virus. This was apparent to epidemiologists from early 2020, even though many were unwilling to accept it at the time.
“That said, SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve rapidly, generating new variants that can at least partially evade any existing immunity. This is keeping levels of infection high, and some variants still generate new waves, though these waves are not as explosive as they were earlier on. The latest variant of interest is XBB.1.16 and there will surely be others.
“So we must remain vigilant, which means continued monitoring of cases and sequencing virus genomes, though at a less intense level than a year ago. In the UK, the newly announced ONS survey of respiratory infections will be a welcome contribution to this effort.
“We must also recognise that Covid-19 will continue to exert a toll. Even with vaccination it remains a threat to vulnerable patients – the elderly, the frail and the infirm – and will continue to appear on death certificates. Life expectancy fell around the world in 2020-21 and it may be some time before it fully recovers.
“There will be a continued need for good patient care and effective treatments. There will also be a continued role for vaccination programmes, particularly targeted at those most vulnerable: the elderly, the frail and those with co-morbidities.
“The pandemic was a once-in-a-century disaster. In the 824 days since a public health emergency was declared Covid-19 has killed millions of people all around the world, health systems have been overwhelmed and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has severely damaged the global economy.
“There has been plenty of criticism of both national and international responses, and of the WHO’s role in those. There is a series of ongoing inquiries looking at how we could and should have responded better to the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope these will set out how we could have reduced not only the harm caused by the virus but also the self-inflicted harm caused by a strategy of shutting down much of society in an effort to reduce transmission rates. Given the ever present threat of another pandemic, lessons need to be learned.”
Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton, said:
“The WHO had previously indicated that this declaration would be imminent, so the decision is not a surprise.
“One of the key factors behind the blunting of the threat of COVID-19 has been the incredible impact of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. It’s estimated that the vaccines saved between 15-20 millions lives in the first year of the rollout. Despite the small group of people who persist with spreading misinformation, the global vaccine uptake has been excellent, and they will continue to be our most vital tool to minimize COVID-19 as a public health problem.
“One slightly counter-intuitive aspect is that the WHO has downgraded COVID-19 from a public health emergency, yet the sustained multi-country transmission means it still meets most widely used definitions of a ‘pandemic’. However, we are clearly in a different phase of handling COVID-19, the impact of the virus is clearly much less than it was, and the WHO decision is reasonable.”
Refs: https://theconversation.com/three-years-on-the-covid-pandemic-may-never-end-but-the-public-health-impact-is-becoming-more-manageable-198013 (COI – I wrote it)
Lives saved by the vaccines, see: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(22)00320-6/fulltext
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor, and Director of the Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge, said:
“We need to look at the statement in full, and not just a headline about WHO saying that Covid no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). For example, the WHO says ‘The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about. If we all go back to how things were before COVID-19, we will have failed to learn our lessons, and we will have failed future generations.’ We must use the learning from the last three years, and ensure we are better prepared for the next pandemic as a global community. It isn’t a case of if, but when, the next pandemic will hit. So this is a rallying call from the WHO, not one of forget about it.”
Dr Simon Williams, Lecturer in Psychology, Swansea University, said:
“As we move into this next phase, it’s timely to consider what we’ve learned during the pandemic, and what happens next. I think this emergency has taught us how adaptable and responsive people can be – how much people were willing to sacrifice to keep others safe – but how under-prepared many governments and institutions were. The last three years have taught us how resilient we can be as individuals, but how we need to build better institutional resilience. That is, we need to make sure we are better prepared for future health emergencies.
“For the global public health community, however, this is an event of monumental importance. For most people the news may pass them by or feel largely symbolic. Most people have long since, returned to pre-pandemic patterns of socialising, and things like regular mask wearing have all but disappeared in many countries.
“But we must also consider that for some, especially those who are clinically vulnerable and therefore at greater risk from serious complications from COVID, the emergency is not yet over, and may never be.
“Although it’s no longer a PHEIC, covid is still causing millions of infections and thousands of deaths globally each week, and long covid disability and work absenteeism is an ongoing problem.
“That said, today is a big day, even if it’s largely symbolic – and one to both celebrate the official end of an era, and also to commemorate the nearly seven million lives lost – and to better prepare for the next pandemic that we will hopefully never see in our lifetime.”
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:
Dr Julian Tang: “I sit on some and hoc advisory committees for WHO on aerosol transmission.”
Prof Trudie Lang: “None.”
Prof Paul Hunter: “I am on several WHO committees.”
Prof Amitava Banerjee: “Amitava Banerjee is chief investigator of the NIHR-funded STIMULATE-ICP study.”
Dr Benjamin Neuman: “No conflicts of interest to report.”
Prof Stephen Griffin: “Independent SAGE.”
Prof Tom Solomon: “Vice President (International), Academy of Medical Sciences. Director, The Pandemic Institute and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. Chair, Neurological Science and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool. Honorary Consultant Neurologist, Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.”
Prof Mark Jit: “I am a member of several committees that advise WHO, and have received research funding from WHO in the past.”
Prof Muhammad Munir: “No competing interests.”
Prof Lawrence Young: “I have no conflicts.”
Prof James Naismith: “Founder and shareholder of GyreOx. Trustee & Vice-President Academy of Medical Sciences Multiple patents (macrocycles, nanobodies) Vice Chair of the European XFEL GmbH Council (equiv non Exec Director) Editor of MedComm Scientific Advisory Board Harbin Institute of Technology Scientific Advisory Board Michael J Bishop Cancer Research Scientific Advisory Board Alan Turing Institute PhD examiner and advisor at multiple Universities.”
Prof Susan Michie: “I was a participant in SAGE’s Behavioural Science Advisory Group of SAGE (SPI-B), a member of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission Public Health Taskforce and am a member of Independent SAGE.”
Dr Kit Yates: “Kit is a member of Independent SAGE, a group of scientists who are working together to provide independent scientific advice to the UK government and public on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Prof Mark Woolhouse: “Mark Woolhouse is a member of the Scottish Government Standing Committee for Pandemic Preparedness, a consultant to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, and the author of a book about the pandemic The Year The World Went Mad (Sandstone, 2022).”
Dr Michael Head: “No conflicts of interest to declare.”
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald: “I serve on WHO European High-Level Expert Group on COVID-19.”
For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.