Professor Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, and giving evidence on behalf of the British Immunological Society;
Professor Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology at University College London;
Professor Christophe Fraser, Senior Group Leader in Pathogen Dynamics at the University of Oxford Big Data Institute;
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive Officer of NHSX; and
Professor Lillian Edwards, Professor of Law, Innovation and Society at Newcastle University.
We asked a range of questions, areas of discussion included:
Scientific understanding of immunity to COVID-19 so far, including how levels of immunity could vary depending on length and severity of illness, and understanding of what antibody testing can actually indicate;
Whether the principle of identifying sections of the population as immune to the disease a good idea, and the potential risks this could pose to societal cohesion, and psychological wellbeing;
If and when antibody testing to identify immunity could be rolled out, and how potential risks could be addressed;
The technological requirements for a digital contact tracing app, and how these are being developed. We heard the app could be ready to be introduced at a local level within 2–3 weeks;
How the data gathered by the app could be used, the risks posed to people’s privacy and how these could be addressed. We heard that both the privacy model and the security settings will be published before the app is rolled out nationally;
How uptake of the app could be encouraged, we heard that up to 80% of the population could be required to engage with the app for it to be effective; and
The potential requirement for legislation to support the use of a contact tracing app. We heard that legislation may be needed to cover the use of anonymised data, and that separate guidance may be required to avoid discrimination over use of the app.
You can also catch up with previous evidence sessions as part of this inquiry:
Our session on 25 March focussed on: i) the basis of the UK Government’s interventions; ii) vaccines and diagnostics, including testing; and iii) science advice to Government. Re-watch the session on parliamentlive.tv, or read the transcript on our website.
Our session on 8 April focussed on the UK's approach to testing during the ongoing pandemic and what we can learn from other countries. Re-watch the session on parliamentlive.tv.
Our session on 16 April focussed on the effectiveness and longevity of social distancing measures in the UK, the implications for the public and international strategies for relaxing social distancing measures. Re-watch the session on parliamentlive.tv.
Our session on 24 April focussed on the four UK national responses to COVID-19. We took evidence from all the UK Chief Medical Officers on scientific advice, policy co-ordination, testing, vaccination and non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing. Re-watch the session on parliamentlive.tv.
It is relevant as it will give the latest scientific evidence and strategies for relaxing social distancing measures – ie as to when centres might be able to reopen.
This session will focus on the effectiveness and longevity of social distancing measures in the UK, the wider implications of these measures for the population, and international strategies for relaxing social distancing measures.
Usually you can watch this on parliament tv after the event if you are not free at the time (and can also fast forward).