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Professor Roy Anderson - Questions and concerns remain "models abused in the interests of scientific opportunism..."

Too many animals were killed in the name of elections and mathematics. .....

  • Why was Anderson's Mathematical model used to drive the 2001 FMD policy?
  • Anderson effectively took over the direction of the control policy, based on computer projections produced by his team but how his team gained precedence over others is rather curious.
    In 2001 Prof. Anderson's research team included Dr Christl Donnelly, a statistician, who just happened to have published in October 2000 in Veterinary Science an analytical paper on the 1967 foot and mouth epidemic, one month before FMD was officially recognised to be in the UK.
    As Richard North said in July 2001, this

    Dr Paul Kitching, then at the Animal Health Institute at Pirbright, told Channel 4 News that the new projections were almost worthless - and also pointed out how conveniently the projected end of the outbreak had been adjusted May to June ( The General Election had been moved from May to June). The government insisted on the "independent expertise" of Professor Anderson, a scientist, it said, of unimpeachable reputation.

  • models were not fit for the purpose of predicting the course of the epidemic and the effects of control measures. The models also remain unvalidated...

    Use and abuse of mathematical models: an illustration from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom
    R.P. Kitching , M.V. Thrusfield & N.M. Taylor
    Rev. sci. tech. Off. int. Epiz., 2006, 25

  • Influenced non-vaccination policy?
  • Although one of the prime advocates of routine vaccination, and Roy Anderson has worked for major pharmaceutical companies which produce most of the world's vaccines, his stance on vaccination against FMD - (he said that 'Immunisation would not help much because it allows the disease to spread from an infected farm, given the inevitable delay that would occur between confirmation and vaccination') - was listened to with deference. In spite of the availability of a vaccine bank (5 million doses) in Europe, able and willing to supply the UK, in spite of the pleas of experts who had experience of using vaccines successfully against FMD, in spite of the pleas of scientists and farmers and Prof Fred Brown FRS OBE who urged, "The present vaccines are excellent. I am speaking on my own behalf, I do not work for a drug company. They start to give protection in about four to five days and they are getting better. There is a strong argument for [vaccination] now and in the future." vaccination was not used and millions of healthy animals were condemned.. As the Devon vet, Wendy Vere, said: "Their idea was to control the disease by culling in contiguous farms. That is fine if you are sitting in front of a computer screen in London. However, it is different on the ground. A person in London will just see the numbers and will say that they have been taken out. That is why it was carnage by computer

  • Unimpeachable reputation?

    Roy Anderson's interests included being a director and 30 percent shareholder of the International Biomedical and Health Sciences Consortium. He was a scientific consultant to Abbott Pharmaceuticals, a major US company. Additionally, he was consultant to SKS Scientific (presumably Smith Kline Beecham), and had links with the Hamburg Institute of Tropical Scientific Advisory Board Medicine. While a Trustee and director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases Professor Anderson applied for research grants from the Wellcome Trust. In 2000, the Wellcome Trust began investigating links between Anderson, IBHSC and Abbotts Pharmaceuticals, saying "we have policies to make sure governors are independent and deal with grants fairly". The investigations would also consider whether Wellcome-funded facilities had been used improperly to do work for drugs companies.

  • Slanderous allegations ?

    In 2000 Dr Sunetra Gupta, a young fellow scientist at Oxford, was accused by Roy Anderson of having a relationship with a professor. During discussions with the Oxford University appointments committee, Professor Anderson suggested she, in order to get selected as a readership in epidemiology, was having an affair with the Head of Zoology, Paul Harvey, a leading member of the selection committee. It was a lie - but it took Dr Gupta nine months to get a retraction. In a letter to her, Prof Anderson, admitted that there was "no foundation in truth whatsoever" in his comments. See Princeton report (half way down page) ".....Soon after she won the readership, she says Prof Anderson began to behave in a "peculiar" way towards her. "He tried to take away the office that came with the job and he took away the responsibility of running an MSc course without telling me. It was starting to be a bit ridiculous." "

    Initially suspended on full pay, Professor Anderson subsequently resigned his posts at Oxford.

  • 2006 ~ Roy Anderson is knighted

    Under a Telegraph headline; Honours for those who 'work and serve at the sharp end' we read: "Prof Roy Anderson, chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, is also awarded a knighthood. He is best known for his research on computer models used to formulate policy to deal with epidemics, notably Aids, Sars and BSE. He helped to formulate the controversial foot and mouth cull five years ago."
    and from the Imperial College news release : "Professor Anderson is currently seconded as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence and was awarded his knighthood for epidemiological research, studying the spread of infectious diseases such as AIDS, BSE, foot and mouth and SARS, and providing the government with advice on how to tackle them..."

  • June 25 2007 ~ Prof Sir Roy Anderson, has been named the next rector of Imperial College, London and will take over next summer...
  • November 17 2009 ~ The Rector of Imperial College London has resigned after just 16 months in the post