Earlier this year, in a blog post, a doctor and founder of a vaccine production company organised a largely maskless indoor conference in Los Angeles that attracted nearly 100 individuals and left 24 infected with COVID-19, he admitted.
In a post published Friday, Dr. Peter Diamandis, a Bronx-born Harvard Medical School graduate and founder of the XPrize Foundation, wrote on his website, “Despite a total of 452 tests and four doctors on-staff during a highly contained small gathering, 24 individuals in our ‘Immunity Bubble’ tested positive for the coronavirus, including me.”
Diamandis, 59, is the co-founder of COVAXX, which is reportedly developing a vaccine in Brazil that was being tested in Taiwan as recently as September, in addition to XPrize, a non-profit that hosts public competitions, including one revealed this week in collaboration with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
According to the MIT Technology Review, about 85 people, including staff and delegates, turned up from as far away as Israel and Vancouver at the ninth annual Abundance 360 conference held January 24-26 at the XPrize offices in Culver City.
Diamandis said he believed he took all the right measures by requiring attendees to be screened at least 72 hours before arrival and hiring a testing company to administer daily swabs.
But admittedly not everyone wore masks, Diamandis said. “This is definitely one of my biggest failings and one of the most important lessons learned,” he wrote.
More than 400 swabs were administered over the course of four days leading up to and during the meeting, but no participants tested positive until two days later, on Jan. 28, when a staff member was diagnosed. Over the next two weeks, cases started to rise.
Diamandis said, “The bottom line is that I am sincerely and deeply sorry for the consequences of the choices we made.” I figured we were using the very best science had to offer, as a scientist, an engineer and a medical person. And I believed that a bubble of immunity was a “real thing.”