Citing the threat of viral infections running amok, a U.S. government agency says it is working on a process that could result in treatments being developed within 60 days of the identification of a new pathogen, says a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Such treatments now sometimes take years to develop, and even flu vaccines generally require one year.
But the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said that’s no longer acceptable.
“DARPA’s goal is to create a technology platform that can place a protective treatment into health providers’ hands within 60 days of a pathogen being identified, and have that treatment induce protection in patients within three days of administration,” said Matt Hepburn, a program manager for the effort.
“We need to be able to move at this speed considering how quickly outbreaks can get out of control. The technology needs to work on any viral disease, whether it’s one humans have faced before or not.”
The organization, in an announcement this week, noted DARPA-funded researchers previously have pioneered RNA vaccine technology, “a medical countermeasure against infectious diseases that uses coded genetic constructs to stimulate production of viral proteins in the body, which in turn can trigger a protective antibody response.”
DARPA’s work in genetic constructs has been focused on processes that can directly stimulate production of antibodies in the body.
Now, however, it wants to set up a process capable of “halting the spread of any viral disease outbreak before it can escalate to pandemic status. Such a capability would offer a stark contrast to the state of the art for developing and deploying traditional vaccines – a process that does not deliver treatments to patients until months, years, or even decades after a viral threat emerges.”
Of late there have been catastrophes with Zika, H1N1 influenza, Ebola and other diseases.
Those developments have exposed the inability of the global health system to quickly halt the spread of a disease.
“State-of-the-art medical countermeasures typically take many months or even years to develop, produce, distribute, and administer. These solutions often arrive too late – if at all – and in quantities too small to respond to emerging threats. In contrast, the envisioned … platform would cut response time to weeks and stay within the window of relevance for containing an outbreak,” DARPA said.