Ulrike Protzer: Aufnahme durch Eckert / Heddergott


6. May 2020

Science communication: Interview with Bavaria’s top virologist

Transparent and accurate communication is one of the central tasks of all institutions and organizations involved in the Corona crisis. Citizens want to know where we stand in the fight against the global pandemic, how the next steps will be designed and what they can do themselves to optimally protect themselves and others. In times of social media and targeted campaigns, unfortunately, it is not always just reliable and verifiable information that now reaches us every day in the almost unmanageable flood of corona news. Other pieces of information, on the other hand, describe highly complex relationships and intermediate research results that are often very difficult for the general public to classify.

In his role as head of politics at the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Bavaria, Achim von Michel and a colleague of the association had a one-hour conversation with Bavaria’s top virologist Professor Dr. Ulrike Protzer. Prof. Protzer (* 1962) works in the field of virus-host interaction of the hepatitis B virus. Her work focuses on the molecular and immunological understanding of virus control. Recently she has also devoted herself to further research into corona viruses. As a member of the expert council of the Bavarian state government on the corona crisis, she is one of the top virologists in Bavaria.

Where does Bavaria stand in the fight against pandemics? Will there be a second wave of infections? Is there a background immunity in the population from previous infections with other corona viruses? What do companies now have to observe in order to optimally implement the hygiene rules? How far will the test capacities be ramped up and what role do companies like Roche Pharma from Penzberg play in this? When will a vaccination be available and is a breakthrough RNA vaccine even conceivable?

BVMW political boss Achim von Michel discussed these and many other questions with the virologist and also discussed the role of specialists in communication for broad sections of society. In his opinion, it is not always understandable why up to six highly competent virologists with partially different information are permanently present in the public media and thus contribute to a certain uncertainty in the population due to the fact that the facts are not always clear. Even if no consensus could be reached in the webinar on the communication strategy – in the end, Professor Protzer convinced the selected audience of medium-sized entrepreneurs with detailed specialist knowledge and a sovereign assessment of the overall situation and a clearly understandable “translation” of this highly complex subject area into easily understandable language.

Here is the full recording of the webinar on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjTMBZi6w-w&t=2s