Michael Yeadon, wasn’t just any scientist. The 60-year-old is a former vice president of Pfizer, where he spent 16 years as an allergy and respiratory researcher. He later co-founded a biotech firm that the Swiss drugmaker Novartis purchased for at least $325 million.
Recent reports of blood clots and abnormal bleeding in a small number of recipients of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine have cast doubt on that shot’s safety, leading several European countries to suspend its use.
Yeadon isn’t the only respected scientist to have challenged the scientific consensus on COVID-19 and expressed controversial views. Michael Levitt, a winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry, told the Stanford Daily last summer that he expected the pandemic would end in the United States in 2020 and kill no more than 175,000 Americans – a third of the current total – and “when we come to look back, we’re going to say that wasn’t such a terrible disease.” And Luc Montagnier, another Nobel Prize winner, said last year that he believed the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab. Many experts doubt that, but so far there is no way to prove or disprove it.
Levitt told Reuters that his projections about the pandemic in the United States were wrong, but he still believes COVID-19 eventually won’t be seen as “a terrible disease” and that lockdowns “caused a great deal of collateral damage and may not have been needed.”
In a debate last fall in Britain’s House of Commons about the government’s response to the pandemic, parliamentarian Richard Drax called Yeadon an “eminent” scientist, and cited his view “that the virus is both manageable and nearing its end.”
Yeadon called for an end to mass testing and claimed that 30% of the population was already immune to COVID-19 even before the pandemic started. By the time of the recording, he said, there was little scope for the virus to spread further in the UK because most people had already been infected or were immune.