Independent SAGE

Independent SAGE logo

The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, better known as Independent SAGE is a group of scientists, unaffiliated to government (although some are also in the government SAGE), that publishes advice aimed toward the UK government regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Its name is based on SAGE, the name of the government's official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

The questions raised about the transparency of SAGE[1] and possible political interference[2][3] during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom led to concerns about trust in public health messaging being raised by scientists and by the media. As an alternative, a group of scientists created Independent SAGE, chaired by Sir David Anthony King, a former Government Chief Scientific Advisor, in early May 2020 to "provide a clear structure on which an effective policy should be based given the inevitability that the virus will continue to cross borders".[4]

The non-profit group The Citizens were a founding partner with Independent SAGE in May 2020.[5] They continue to support Independent SAGE's social media and web presence.

Public statements

In May 2020, Independent SAGE warned against ending lockdown prematurely in places like schools.[6]

In July 2020 they published a strategy pressing the UK government to achieve ‘zero Covid,’ stating ‘The prospect of many thousands of further deaths from COVID-19 over the next nine months is unacceptable,' although in the same report they noted only one infectious disease - smallpox - has ever been successfully eliminated. [7]

In September 2020, Independent SAGE called for immediate government action to prevent further increase in the prevalence of COVID-19 infection, to prevent the need for a second national lockdown.[8]

In November 2020, Sir David King stated that he was considering continuing Independent SAGE's work after the coronavirus pandemic, with a focus on combatting climate change.[9]


Members of Independent SAGE include:[10]

  • Deenan Pillay (chair)
  • Susan Michie (deputy chair)
  • Anthony Costello
  • Karl Friston
  • Zubaida Haque
  • Martin McKee
  • Tolullah Oni
  • Christina Pagel
  • Stephen Reicher
  • Helen Salisbury
  • Gabriel Scally
  • Kit Yates


  1. ^ Landler, Mark; Castle, Stephen (23 April 2020). "The Secretive Group Guiding the U.K. on Coronavirus". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Revealed: Cummings is on secret scientific advisory group for Covid-19". The Guardian. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Dominic Cummings attended meetings of scientific advisory group, No10 admits". ITV News. 25 April 2020. Mr Cummings' attendance has been criticised, with many suggesting it could have politicised decision making.
  4. ^ "COVID-19: what are the options for the UK? Recommendations for government based on an open and transparent examination of the scientific evidence" (PDF). Independent SAGE. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  5. ^ What is Independent SAGE? (retrieved 24 December 2021)
  6. ^ Tidman Z (28 May 2020) Not safe to reopen all schools next week and government ignoring scientific advice, Independent Sage warns. The Independent (retrieved 8 June 2020)
  7. ^ "A Better Way To Go: towards to a Zero COVID UK" (PDF). Independent SAGE. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  8. ^ Wise, Jacqui (21 September 2020). "Covid-19: Act now to avoid second lockdown, says Independent SAGE". BMJ. 370: m3695. doi:10.1136/bmj.m3695. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 32958513.
  9. ^ "Independent Sage scientists to join climate crisis battle". the Guardian. 21 November 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Who are we?". Independent SAGE. Retrieved 24 December 2021.

External links

Media files used on this page

SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors
WHO Rod.svg
The rod of Asclepius as depicted in the WHO logo.
Indie SAGE website logo.png
Independent SAGE logo from their website at
SARS-CoV-2 without background.png
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).