The SAGE Secretive Seven

In keeping with best practice, members of government advisory groups are invited to declare their interests in any companies or organisations that could be interested in influencing decisions made by the group. Seven members of SAGE are revealed here as having interests in companies that they chose not to declare. Of course, human memory is fallible and it is possible that these members simply forgot to declare these interests or, for whatever reason, did not consider them relevant or important. It could be a pure coincidence that all seven people with undeclared interests were linked to the Wellcome Trust or Pfizer. Also, five of the seven members with undeclared interests are employed at University College London with an active research team working towards a new COVID-19 vaccine.

The motive for not declaring interests remains uncertain. As noted, lapse of memory is always a possibility. Yet that seems unlikely. In every case the undeclared interests can be found with a few clicks on Google, so why bother to raise concerns or suspicions?

The list below shows details of the ‘secretive seven’ SAGE members. It indicates their declared and undeclared interests.

Professor Charles Bangham  IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

DECLARED:

  • None

UNDECLARED:

Research funded by the Wellcome Trust

Dr Demis Hassabis CBE FRS     UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

DECLARED:

  • None

UNDECLARED:

Henry Wellcome postdoctoral research fellowship

Professor Andrew Hayward   UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

     DECLARED

  • Trustee, Pathway Homeless Health Care Charity
  • Recipient of research funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Director, UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care
  • Range of grants held by staff within the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care (NIHR, ESRC, UKRI)
  • Recipient of COVID-19 research funding for Virus Watch (UKRI and NIHR). No personal financial gain
  • Recipient of COVID-19 research funding for COVID Health Equity Study Virus Watch (UKRI and NIHR). Co-applicant but no personal financial gain
  • Provision of Antibody testing in Virus Watch Study (DHSC) – no personal financial gain
  • Co-investigator of the Vivaldi Nursing Home Study, funded by DHSC – no personal financial gain
  • Occupational risk analyses in Virus Watch, (occupational analyses funded by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – no personal financial gain
  • UNDECLARED: Led the MRC Wellcome Flu Watch Study from 2006-11
  • Co-led of the Wellcome/DH ICONIC 2013-18 programme (https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=ACHAY31)

Dr Melissa Heightman    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON HOSPITAL

DECLARED:

  • Co-investigator on an NIHR funded study evaluating diagnostic pathways, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for Long COVID (STIMULATE-ICP) at UCLH and UCL.
  • UNDECLARED:
  • Held a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship from 2007 to 2011

Professor Dame Anne Johnson    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

DECLARED:

  • Employee, UCL
  • Co-investigator, NIHR and UKRI virus watch study (COVID)
  • Member, COVID National Core Studies (NCS) Oversight Group
  • Chair, MRC and UKRI Accelerating Detection of Disease cohort scientific advisory group
  • Recipient of research income from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – iSense project
  • Member, Medical Research Council PRP Advisory Group
  • Member, COVID Research and innovation task force, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • President, formerly Vice-President international, Academy of Medical Sciences (December 2020 to present)
  • LUSTRUM grant coinvestigator and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Emeritus senior investigator
  • Member, Royal Society DELVE committee on COVID-19
  • Chair, OSCHR Sub-committee for Strategic Co-ordination of Health of the Public Research (SCHOPR)

UNDECLARED:

From  2011 to December 2019, a member of the  Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust (https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/research/personal?upi=AMJOH29)

Professor Vittal Katikireddi    UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

DECLARED:

  • Recipient of research funding from Medical Research Council (MRC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), CSO, Health Foundation, European Research Council, Swedish Research Council, Baillie Gifford.
  • Co-chair, Expert Reference Group on ethnicity and COVID-19, Scottish Government
  • Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Public Health Scotland

UNDECLARED:

Grants From the Wellcome Trust

Professor Susan Michie FMedSci FAcSS  UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

DECLARED:

  • Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London
  • Co-Investigator of research projects including behavioural aspects of COVID-19transmission, UCL
  • Unlocking Behaviour Change, Director

UNDECLARED:

Funding from the Wellcome Trust and, previously, from Pfizer.

———————-

DFM’s declaration of interests: I have received three inoculations of the Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 vaccine courtesy of the French public health system.

Published by David F Marks

Author, editor, psychologist.

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