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Sir Patrick Vallance will step down as No10's chief scientific adviser in the spring

Sir Patrick Vallance will step down as the government’s chief scientific adviser, it was announced today.

He became a household name during Covid, appearing alongside Boris Johnson and his esteemed colleague Sir Chris Whitty at exciting Downing Street briefings to talk the nation through the crisis.

But the 62-year-old was also nicknamed “Dr Doom” during the pandemic because he was the face of SAGE’s bleak projections.

Sir Patrick will resign from his job in April, which pays up to £185,000 a year.

He then becomes chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum.

Sir Patrick Vallance became a household name during Covid, appearing alongside Boris Johnson and his esteemed colleague Sir Chris Whitty at exciting Downing Street briefings to talk the nation through the crisis

But the 62-year-old was also nicknamed

But the 62-year-old was also nicknamed “Dr Doom” during the pandemic because he was the face of SAGE’s bleak projections. Pictured alongside the Prime Minister and Sir Chris at a government press conference on February 21

Sir Patrick, who as a child dreamed of becoming a scientist who studied prehistoric life, will soon assume the role of chairman of the (pictured) Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum

Sir Patrick, who as a child dreamed of becoming a scientist who studied prehistoric life, will soon assume the role of chairman of the (pictured) Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum

From wanting to be a paleontologist to leading the nation through Covid: the rise of Sir Patrick Vallance

Born in Essex in the 1960s, Sir Patrick Vallance dreamed of becoming a ‘dinosaur hunter’ as a child.

But ambitions to become a highly renowned paleontologist were soon abandoned in favor of a career in medicine.

He was educated at Truro School in Cornwall, which now costs nearly £30,000 to enter.

Before becoming a household name for Covid driving the nation, he spent time teaching at St George’s, University of London, where the now 62-year-old graduated in the 1980s.

He later became a specialist in both vascular diseases and endothelial biology.

Sir Patrick, who describes his ‘guiltiest pleasure’ as driving fast cars, also taught for ten years at University College London.

He joined British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2006 and worked there until 2017.

After six years at GSK, his base salary as Executive Director would be £780,000 a year.

When he left in 2018 to become No10’s chief scientific advisor, he cashed in on £5million in shares he had received from them from his time there until March 2018.

During the pandemic, it was revealed that Sir Patrick Vallance still had £600,000 worth of shares. It sparked controversy as GSK was one of several companies racing to develop a Covid vaccine.

The couple are married to former GP Sophie Dexter and live in a semi-detached Victorian house worth £1.8 million, which they bought with cash in 2018.

The street they live on is lined with expensive cars, with an R-class Mercedes once parked in their own driveway.

They had to complete extensive renovations after it was completely gutted by a fire before getting involved with the property.

The couple have three children together – all of whom think their father, originally knighted in 2019, is ‘geeky’.

Boris Johnson said: “Sir Patrick may not have counted on becoming a household name when he applied for the job.

“But I am immensely grateful for his advice and expertise during the pandemic and beyond.”

The outgoing Prime Minister added: ‘It is impossible to fully convey the impact Sir Patrick has had as Chief Scientific Adviser.

“He has been instrumental in expanding and accelerating this country’s scientific superpower.

Overseeing the development and innovative use of new technologies, responding to the global threat of climate change, advancing our country’s life sciences and health, and ensuring that our policies and decisions are informed by the latest and greatest scientific insights.

“It has been our scientists and clinicians, led by Sir Patrick, Sir Chris and their team, who, along with my government, oversaw the largest vaccine roll-out in British history.

“He will be missed by all when he leaves next year, and I wish him all the best in all future endeavours.”

Sir Patrick, who grew up to be a dinosaur hunter, said he will “remain fully committed to my role until my successor takes the role.”

In addition to a leading role in the Covid crisis, he was also closely involved in the COP26 climate negotiations.

He also heads the Net Zero Innovation Board, which strategically oversees government funding of net zero innovation programs.

Sir Patrick was first appointed to the role in 2018, replacing his friend Sir Chris, who was temporarily given the position.

Prior to that, he was an academic and a physician consultant, as well as the president of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline.

He was among the key scientists to speak to the public about Covid at the government’s now-famous televised briefings on the pandemic, often alongside the prime minister and ministers.

Although his response to the virus was not without controversy.

In March 2020, he was forced to defend the government’s ‘herd immunity’ approach to not close schools in the first wave of restrictions.

He was also criticized for presenting a now infamous chart in one of the televised briefings in October of that year, which suggested there could be a shocking 4,000 deaths a day by December 20 if pandemic restrictions were not imposed.

But the numbers came from an outdated model based on a forecast of 1,000 deaths a day by early November.

In reality, the daily average was below 200, meaning the forecast was five times too high.

Sir Patrick has also championed the SAGE modeling that predicted thousands of daily deaths during the Omicron wave.

Some anti-lockdown Tory MPs labeled these projections “fearmongering.”

But Sir Patrick said his job was not to spread optimism, but to give ministers the data they needed to make decisions.

Sir Patrick was named in the government's 2022 New Year Honors List for helping lead the response to Covid.  Pictured here with wife Sophie Dexter after receiving his award in June

Sir Patrick was named in the government’s 2022 New Year Honors List for helping lead the response to Covid. Pictured here with wife Sophie Dexter after receiving his award in June

However, the scientist was also praised for saying that Covid management should become similar to the flu.

Sir Patrick was originally knighted in 2019, but was upgraded earlier this summer.

Speaking outside the royal residence after being awarded the Order of the Bath Medal in June, he said Sir Patrick called the closing celebrations in Downing Street “very disappointing”.

He said it was ‘very important at all stages that everyone followed the rules’.

But he said Partygate showed that this was “not the case.”

Government insiders have maintained that Sir Patrick’s departure has nothing to do with his criticism of the No10 parties, but with the end of his five-year contract which he started in 2018.

Fellow Covid guru Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, affectionately known as JVT, announced he would step down as deputy CMO in January, just hours after Johnson apologized to the nation for drinking with others in the yard of No10.

Government sources also claimed his departure had nothing to do with ‘party gate’ and claimed his time was ‘up’ as he had been ‘on loan’ to Whitehall since 2017.

Others saw the flu expert’s departure as a sign that the worst of Covid was over.

The departure of Sir Patrick and Sir Jonathan from government leaves CMO Sir Chris, who was also knighted for his service to the nation, the last virus guru.

They are all expected to feature prominently during the official inquiry into the response to the coronavirus.

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