Date: 06 October 2020
JOHANNESBURG, 06 October 2020:
Pandemics ~ Data & Analytics (PANDA) is proud to announce the formation of the PANDA Scientific Advisory Board. The Board will reinforce PANDA’s credentials and mission to provide independent, accurate and scientific analysis by reviewing research produced by the organisation to ensure accuracy in its scientific analysis. The Board’s members are all scientists of the highest standing:
- Jay Bhattacharya is Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s research focuses on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on the role of government programs, biomedical innovation, and economics. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic.
- Sunetra Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, and infectious disease epidemiologist. She has performed research on the transmission dynamics of various infectious diseases, including malaria, influenza and COVID-19. Dr Gupta is also a novelist and a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.
- Martin Kulldorff is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a biostatistician in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr Kulldorff’s current research centers on developing new statistical methods for post- market drug and vaccine safety surveillance.
- Michael Levitt is Professor of Biophysics at Stanford University, and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University. He runs the University’s Levitt Lab. In 2013, Dr Levitt received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, for ‘the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems’. In 2014 he was awarded the DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences. Dr Levitt was elected an ISCB Fellow by the International Society for Computational Biology in 2015.The organisation has also launched PANDA Doctors, a global initiative to unite and support medical professionals who are raising their voices. Many of them face vexatious and costly professional complaint or disciplinary processes, devoid of substance and designed merely to suppress truth and open scientific debate. PANDA has therefore also launched PANDA Lawyers, an international network of legal professionals who stand ready to assist doctors and scientists who are attacked. Both are open to medical and legal professionals from all backgrounds and specialties.
PANDA was established in April 2020, as its founding members perceived the global reaction to COVID- 19 as overwrought and damaging to the point of causing a great tear in the fabric of society. Epidemiological models unrelated to reality, social media propaganda and exaggerated reporting caused global confusion and knee-jerk reactions. A cry went up to emulate the Wuhan lockdown, though such measures had been eschewed by all pre-COVID-19 science, and for good reason. The corrupt and the inept among scientists and politicians alike heeded and amplified that cry, embarking upon a great intrusion against civil liberties and pursuing health policies that PANDA warned would clearly harm more than help.
Other courageous voices that speak out against this unprecedented response are also being suppressed. Open science, a key contributor to the huge progress achieved over the last century is being trampled upon, in favour of authoritarian measures mired in arbitrary and senseless regulations. “That such voices are being silenced is a great tragedy. What they say has the potential to save many lives. To save the vulnerable few, the many need to carry on with their lives. By doing so, the vast majority, to whom Covid presents negligible risk, can continue to build the wealth that sustains our healthcare services, and the immunity that will cause the epidemic to wither before it could attack the vulnerable. This approach is called a ‘Focused Protection’ response, and PANDA has proposed many variants of this from the start,” said PANDA co-ordinator, Nick Hudson.
“Instead, as the evidence rolls in that lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions have yielded no benefits, we must now contend with the reality of livelihoods destroyed, unraveling social bonds, psychological damage and devastating health consequences. The ‘great reset’ and a ‘new normal now threaten vast swathes of humanity with an uncertain and unsustainable future,” added Hudson.
In what will surely be seen as a pivotal event in the struggle to reel back an almost unfathomable overreaction, PANDA supports the Great Barrington Declaration, developed by its Scientific Advisory Board, which recommends, as PANDA has from the start, a policy of Focused Protection in place of draconian lockdowns.
PANDA, still going strong and backed by global partners, is forging ahead internationally to dismantle the dystopian ‘new normal’ and reclaim civil liberties and appropriate public health responses.