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Call for evidence

The science of COVID-19

The focus of this inquiry will be forward looking, aiming to help Government and society learn from the current pandemic and better prepare for future epidemics caused by this and other viruses. The inquiry will begin with its first topic in the coming weeks and is likely to last until December.

The Committee will take evidence from UK and international experts on the scientific understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as the technology involved in preventing, diagnosing and treating the virus. The Committee will seek to identify research opportunities in epidemiology, medical care and basic science. It does not intend to cover the political, economic and social implications of the crisis, which are being addressed by other Parliamentary Committees.

The Committee welcomes concise (one-page) submissions of scientific evidence related to the following areas:

Virology and research needs

  • The nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including its structure, genome, antigenic properties and likely origin.

Epidemiology, modelling and testing

  • The modes of transmission of the virus among people, including modelling of the epidemiology and the impact of social-distancing policies on the spread.
  • Diagnostic tests for the virus, including PCR (nucleic acid) tests and antibody tests: their accuracy, reliability, supply and distribution.

Vaccines and treatments

  • Vaccines, including obstacles to be overcome in the case of SARS-CoV-2 and methods for speeding up and increasing the success rate of vaccine development.
  • Therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, including antiviral drugs, monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma.

Technology and global preparedness

  • Digital technology and data analytics, including the role they can play in testing and tracing contacts and implications for privacy.

The committee encourages people from all backgrounds to contribute and believes that it is particularly important to hear from groups which are often under-represented. The committee’s work is most effective when it is informed by as diverse a range of perspectives and experiences as possible. Please bring this document to the attention of groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct, including those who have not previously engaged with Parliament.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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