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Farrar Leaves SAGE

Jeremy Farrar has stepped down from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the UK's pandemic science advisory group, according to the Financial Times.

It adds that Farrar, who is the director of the Wellcome Trust, had been pushing for a stronger pandemic response and that he had considered resigning from SAGE last year as his advice went unheeded. Sky News adds that Farrar has been pushing for a "vaccine plus" strategy for curbing the spread of COVID-19 that also emphasizes mask-wearing, testing, and improved ventilation. It notes, though, that the government has not adopted that plan.

FT reports that Farrar says his departure now does not reflect a new disagreement and that he will be concentrating on his role at the Wellcome Trust. "The high levels of transmission seen in the UK remain concerning, but I stepped down as a participant of SAGE knowing ministers had been provided with most of the key science advice needed over the winter months," he says in a statement to Sky News. Farrar adds at FT that he will be available to offer help as a scientist or as the Wellcome Trust director.