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Lords to quiz experts on behavioural science and testing, with summary of last session now available

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will this week start by examining the approaches, roles and insights of behavioural science on the pandemic, before discussing the different approaches to testing.

A summary of last week's evidence session on the modelling of COVID-19 is now available here.
In a continuation of its inquiry into the Science of COVID-19, the committee will first hear from further leading academics as it seeks to better understand the approaches used to inform health interventions and in influencing a change of behaviour amongst the public.
Both evidence sessions will be conducted on zoom and can be followed at from 10am on Tuesday 9 June. Giving evidence will be:
10am: Behavioural science

  • Professor Susan Michie, Director of UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, UCL
  • Professor Lucy Yardley, Professor of Health Psychology, University of Bristol; and Professor of Health Psychology, University of Southampton
  • Professor David Halpern, Chief Executive, Behavioural Insights Team

Questions will include:

  • What are the main behavioural science approaches to inform health interventions?
  • What are the most effective approaches to get the public to behave in a certain way?
  • Which elements of behavioural science are being used in the UK's COVID-19 response?
  • How much has the UK public complied with regulations and guidelines so far?
  • What strategies for moving out of lockdown are the most feasible from the perspective of behavioural science?
  • If there is a second wave of the virus, how easy will it be to persuade the public to adhere to stricter regulations again? What new insights have been gained so far to inform this?

Following this, the committee will move on to examining testing. Giving evidence will be:
11am: Testing

  • Professor Sheila Bird, Former Programme Leader at MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge; and Honorary Professor, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Sir John Burn, Professor of Clinical Genetics, Newcastle University
  • Professor Jon Deeks, Professor of Biostatistics, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Andrew Hayward, Director, UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, UCL

Questions will include:

  • Please give us an overview of the different types of testing being used to monitor and manage the pandemic?
  • How sensitive and specific are PCR tests?
  • What are the different types of antibody that are being tested during the pandemic? Why is it important to measure different types of antibody?
  • Is testing important in different phases of pandemic management?
  • As countries, like the UK, ease lockdown restrictions, how important will diagnostic testing be to control the virus spread?
  • When using a test and trace approach, how quickly will results need to be confirmed in order to contribute to containing or suppressing the virus?
  • To what extent should antibody tests be part of the testing strategy from this point forward?

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