- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Newly named to the symposium is Paul Allan Offit, M.D., co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, announced UC distinguished professor Walter Leal, who organizes and moderates the symposiums as a public service.
The third symposium, focusing primarily on vaccines, is set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Zoom and YouTube. It will begin at 4:30 with a pre-program, featuring interviews and questions and answers. The main program, with the panelists, begins at 5. To register and view the symposium, access https://bit.ly/2AgVbxY.
"I am very thankful that Dr. Ovitt found time in his busy schedule to share some of his thoughts about the current developments," said Leal. "We would like to know whether he would take the first COVID-19 vaccine and why."
Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases (1992-2014), and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His credentials also include: member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, board member of Every Child By Two, and a founding board member of the Autism Science Foundation.
"Offit worked for 25 years on the development of a safe and effective vaccine against rotavirus, which is a cause of diarrhea, and which kills almost 600,000 children a year worldwide," according to Wikipedia. His interest in the disease stems from his days as a pediatric resident: a 9-month-old infant died from rotavirus-caused dehydration while under his care.
Offit and colleagues Fred Clark and Stanley Plotkin, Offit invented RotaTeq, a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co. Since 2006, RotaTeq has been one of two vaccines currently used against rotavirus.
From Wikipedia: "Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety, and is the author or co-author of books on vaccines, vaccination, and antibiotics. He is one of the most public faces of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism."
"Offit grew up in Baltimore, the son of a shirtmaker. He went to his father's sales meetings and reacted negatively to the tall tales told by salespeople, instead preferring the clean and straightforward practice of science. When he was five years old, he was sent to a polio ward to recover from clubfoot surgery; this experience caused him to see children as vulnerable and helpless, and motivated him through the 25 years of the development of the rotavirus vaccine."
The pre-program of interviews and questions will include interviews with retired UC Davis Medical Center nurse Carolyn Wyler of Sacramento, a passenger on the ill-fated Grand Princess cruise ship; and with UC Davis Medical Center nurse Paula Wagner, who took a two-week "vacation" to treat COVID-19 patients at a Boston hospital.
The main program, from 5 to 7 p.m., will begin with a welcoming address by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May. The panelists:
- Dr. Robert Gallo, who co-discovered that HIV causes AIDS, is the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine; co-founder and director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology; and co-founder of the Global Virus Network.
- Kate Broderick, who is leading an INOVIO research team in San Diego to develop a DNA vaccine for COVID-19,
- Dr. Dean Blumberg, professor and chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis Health
- Dr. Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine., dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Also interviewed will be Dr. Atul Malhotra, professor of Medicine, Pulmonology, Critical Care, UC San Diego Health, and Dr. Stuart H. Cohen, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, UC Davis School of Medicine. Honey bee geneticist Robert E. Page Jr., UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor, will comment on whether bee sting therapy might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Anecdotal information recently published in sciencedirect.com indicates that beekeepers living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus did not contract the virus, and neither did a a group of patients receiving apitherapy.
Leal, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a member of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology faculty and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, has organized and moderated two other COVID-19 symposiums. The first symposium is online at https://bit.ly/2VurK3Z and the second at https://bit.ly/3b8TAau.
Leal may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.