The U.S. government is working on how to identity, contain and defeat an enemy that is becoming more and more dangerous: bacteria, explains a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The nation’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is taking on the problem, with a planned Friend or Foe research program that would figure out how to identify biological samples and establish security protocols that protect the American military.
“Bacteria underpins much of our world, acting behind the scenes to affect the health and behavior of animals and plants. They help produce food, provide oxygen, and even reshape the environment through a vast array of biological processes,” the government reports notes.
“They come in a phenomenal number of strains – many still unknown – and thrive in different ecological and environmental niches all over the world. But while their diverse behaviors make them essential to life, bacteria can also be deadly. This threat only grows as greater global travel brings people into contact with new places, foods, and animals, dramatically increasing the chances of exposure to dangerous microbial species known as pathogens,” the agency said.
The issue, especially for the U.S. military, is to discriminate between harmless and virulent strains.
The new program proposes to develop a technology that “rapidly screens unfamiliar bacteria to establish their pathogenicity and even discover unknown pathogenic traits, necessary first steps for designing effective biosurveillance and countermeasures.”
Paul Sheehan, the program manager for the project, stepped in to comment.
“Trends such as rising global population, changes in the environment, and the growing accessibility of tools for genetic engineering mean that our armed forces are increasingly likely to face new bacterial pathogens, whether they occur naturally or are engineered by adversaries,” he said.
“Our existing biosurveillance strategies don’t work on previously undiscovered bacteria or on bacteria that have been specifically designed to evade detection by current tests. We need new screening tools that can quickly characterize the threat to enable a rapid response.”