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Committee asks top advisors about scientific evidence used in COVID-19 pandemic

14 July 2020

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will take evidence from senior advisors and officials about how scientific evidence has been used in the UK Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Purpose of session

The Committee will question Sir Patrick Vallance, Professor Chris Whitty, and Professor Nick Phin about strategies for managing the pandemic, including the role of test and trace, and mitigations for a possible second wave. The Committee will probe how scientific advice is obtained by Government and used in making policy decisions, and will consider the level of public trust in this process. The Committee will be keen to hear what lessons have been learned for future pandemics.

The questioning will draw on points made by experts in previous evidence sessions in the inquiry, including the latest sessions on contact tracing strategies.


Friday 17 July at 3.00pm: Scientific evidence and the pandemic

Virtual meeting

  • Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Government Office for Science
  • Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England; UK Government's Chief Medical Adviser; and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health and Social Care
  • Professor Nick Phin, Deputy Director of National Infections Service, and Incident co-director for COVID-19, Public Health England

Possible questions

  • What scientific evidence has had the most influence on the way the pandemic has been managed?
  • In what ways has evidence been interpreted differently in England compared to other UK nations and other countries during the pandemic?
  • What is the goal of the strategy in England until there is a vaccine or highly effective treatment?
  • To what extent is the scientific evidence pointing towards a "second wave" of the virus?
  • Will the Test and Trace strategy be able to suppress transmission and reduce infection rates, and will more widespread testing be important to reduce the likelihood or impact of a second wave?
  • What lessons have been learnt about the importance of transparency in ensuring the public have trust in the scientific advice given to Government?

Further information