Two Months to Stop Pandemic X from Taking Hold: Over the past several years, DARPA-funded researchers 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.
As a follow-on effort, DARPA funded research into genetic constructs that can directly stimulate production of antibodies in the body.1,2 DARPA is now launching the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program, aimed at developing that foundational work into an entire system 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.
"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. We need to be able to move at this speed considering how quickly outbreaks can get out of control," said Matt Hepburn, the P3 Program Manager. "The technology needs to work on any viral disease, whether it's one humans have faced before or not."
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