CATCH THE BUZZ – Bee Sting Therapy for COVID

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 when he briefly addresses the UC Davis-based Third COVID-19 Symposium on Wednesday, June 3 via Zoom and YouTube.

The symposium, primarily on vaccines, begins at 4:30 p.m. with a pre-program. The main program is set for 5 to 7. To register and view the program, access The symposium has already drawn registrants from 15 countries, said UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal, who organizes and moderates the symposiums.

Anecdoctal information recently published in 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.

“These people have one thing in common: they develop a tolerance to bee sting,” wrote lead author Wei Yang, an oncologist from China and two associates. The co-authors pointed out that “It reminds us the story of the discovery of cowpox and the eventual victory of humans over this disease (Bennett and Baxby, 1996).”

Page, not involved with the proposed research, is internationally known for his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior. He is the author of the newly published book, The Art of the Bee: Shaping the Environment from Landscapes to Societies.

The pre-program of interviews and questions will include an interview with retired UC Davis Medical Center nurse Carolyn Wyler of Sacramento, a passenger on the ill-fated Grand Princess cruise ship.

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.
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 and the second at

Leal may be reached at for more information.