At Least Two Dozen People Test Positive for COVID After Attending Vaccine Entrepreneur's Conference

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Gavin Evans
·2 min read
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Image via Getty/Images By Tang Ming Tung

At least two dozen attendees of a conference held in California by the co-founder of a coronavirus vaccine company, of all things, have tested positive for COVID-19.

The annual summit hosted by Peter Diamandis was held last month for a paid-membership group called Abundance 360. The first plan was to hold the event virtually at a hotel in L.A., but instead it was shifted to the offices of XPrize Foundation (Diamandis’ nonprofit) in Culver City.

Diamandis cofounded Covaxx and says that the company is “focused on rapidly developing a multitope peptide-based vaccine for COVID-19.” His XPrize Foundation also started up a program that offered $6 million in prize money for a “six-month competition to develop faster, cheaper, and easier to use COVID-19 testing methods at scale.”

“No more guessing. No more lack of tests. The world needs more high-quality, affordable testing to safely re-open,” the competition description added.

Hundreds of people tuned in to Diamandis’ summit online, while roughly 80 people, including panelists and support staff, were there in person.

On Friday, Diamandis owned up to making a mistake and published a blog post on his site in which he apologized for hosting the event. He also said he (plus 23 other people) had come down with positive COVID tests.

“I thought creating a COVID ‘Immunity Bubble’ for a small group in a TV studio setting was possible. I was wrong,” he wrote.

The event had safety protocols in place, though Diamandis declared, in hindsight, that those gave off “a false sense of security.” Some of those measures included testing attendees repeatedly. None of those tests showed up positive when they were conducted.

“If any of you have ever experienced a new confidence or an impulse to lower your vigilance with masks and social distancing after receiving a negative PCR test, you need to read this,” he added. “I hope others can learn from my mistakes.”

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