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Professor Sunetra Gupta

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Duration: 1:43:17 | Added: 04 Jan 2023
Georgina Ferry interviews Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, 15 June 2022.

Topics discussed include (00:00:35) early education, secondary school in Calcutta, later studies in biology and mathematics at Princeton University in the U.S.A., PhD at Imperial College London in mathematical epidemiology, fellowships with the Wellcome Trust and at Oxford, permanent position in the Department of Zoology; (00:02:31) interest in the evolutionary ecology of infectious disease systems, development of mathematical models; (00:03:45) model on influenza published in 2007 and testing hypotheses in a laboratory, development of a universal flu vaccination with postdoc Craig Thompson; (00:07:46) collaboration with laboratory scientists and clinicians to test hypotheses; (00:10:17) first awareness of COVID-19, including the spread of the virus globally and population immunity, lockdowns as public health policy, publication of a paper in March 2020; (00:22:10) development of an assay by Craig Thompson to test whether people had neutralising antibodies, inability to access samples, eventual access to samples from Scotland, ONS serology study; (00:25:50) lockdowns, herd immunity and seasonality and epidemic patterns; (00:32:20) focused protection particularly for those with comorbidities, failure to protect frontline workers, the cost of lockdown, particularly in regards to the poor and the young; (00:44:20) issues with the healthcare system becoming overwhelmed, including underfunding, care homes and making them safer, fever hospitals; (00:48:20) the Great Barrington Declaration, including emergence into the public sphere and the response from the academic community; (01:01:45) meeting with Professor Carl Heneghan and the Government; (01:05:50) political divisions relating to lockdown measures, meetings with government officials; (01:09:47) reaction from friends, response from the University; (01:14:18) views relating to vaccinating particular age groups, including younger groups; (01:15:55) long-COVID; (01:21:40) vaccination, exposure to COVID-19 and resulting protection; (01:22:50) questions relating to vaccination of younger generations, prioritisation of those in developing countries and those who are vulnerable; (01:24:50) effect on career as a result of the Great Barrington Declaration, including rejection of academic papers submitted to journals; (01:29:50) academic debate and social media, polarisation; (01:31:06) things SG would have done differently then, knowing what is known now; (01:37:20) things SG is optimistic about, including changes to academia, focusing on the next generation.

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