- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Focusing primarily on vaccines, it was broadcast Wednesday, June 3 on both Zoom and YouTube. UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal, organizer and moderator, said that "Zoom viewers had an opportunity to evaluate the event: 84.1% found the symposium very helpful; 88.7% were very satisfied or satisfied."
A few of the comments:
- “This is a great way to get facts to the public.”
- "The format was engaging and dynamic.”
- "I was pleased to see that politics was left out of it.”
- "Appreciated the question and answer format and thought that the questions were very well chosen to highlight important points in the discussion.”
Beekeepers were particularly interested in whether bee sting therapy could have a role in the COVID-19 crisis. Could bee sting therapy prevent the disease or could it be used for patient treatment? In addressing the symposium, honey bee geneticist Robert E. Page Jr., related that some beekeepers have used bee therapy to treat arthritis. Page also commented on a paper published in sciencedirect.com indicating that beekeepers living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus in China did not contract the virus, and neither did a group of patients receiving apitherapy.
A beekeeping couple in Maryland told Leal today that they read the sciencedirect.com article about a month ago and are taking bee sting therapy. "(We) are stinging ourselves in case it offers protection because the cost seems low and the potential benefit high," the wife said. "We've done it about 3 times so far, approximately once a week, and so far so good."
Virtual Symposium Attendance
Zoom drew 760 users (from 1,081 registered), with 543 unique viewers from 18 countries. "Zoom registrants were from 35 countries, but I assume that most of them watched the recorded presentation (given the time difference)," Leal said. "In less than 24 hours, the Youtube video https://youtu.be/O4L0OHcZ5Mk reached 3,681 views."
The main program, from 5 to 7 p.m., began with a welcoming address by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May. The keynote speakers:
- 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.
- Dr. Paul Allan Offit, co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Also interviewed were 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.
The pre-program included 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.
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, organized and moderated two other COVID-19 symposiums.