DARPA launched the Pandemic Prevention Platform program (P3) to stop pandemic treatments within 60 days of detection. The P3 program, which began in 2017, seeks to halt the spread of any infectious disease outbreak before it can escalate into a pandemic.
The P3 teams are developing technologies to deliver antibodies using nucleic acid technology, and achieve sufficient serum concentrations of the antibodies for protection against the pathogen within three days after administration.
DARPA has programs for Pandemic Prevention Platform, Nucleic Acids On-Demand Worldwide (NOW), and PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) programs.
Nucleic Acids On-Demand Worldwide (NOW)
The goal of the NOW program is to develop a mobile medical countermeasure (MCM) manufacturing platform for use in stabilization and humanitarian operations to produce, formulate, and package hundreds of doses of nucleic acid therapeutics (DNA and/or RNA) in less than 24 hours. The developed platform should be a resilient, mobile, readily accessible nucleic acid MCM manufacturing capability that enables immediate threat response anywhere the military operates with minimal user intervention.
Goal of Minutes to Detect and Sequence a New Threat
In 2019, DARPA launched the Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET) program. The goal of DIGET is to provide comprehensive, specific, and trusted information about health threats to medical decision-makers within minutes, even in far-flung regions of the globe, to prevent the spread of disease, enable timely deployment of countermeasures, and improve the standard of care after diagnosis. The DIGET vision incorporates two devices: a handheld, disposable point-of-need device that screens samples for at least 10 pathogens or host biomarkers at once, combined with a massively multiplexed detection platform capable of screening clinical and environmental samples for more than 1,000 targets simultaneously. Both pieces of the system could be quickly reconfigured to adapt to changing needs.
DIGET is focused on biological threats, similar technologies could be applied to chemical and radiological threats by detecting biomarkers of exposure.