Military readiness and national security depend on the health and wellbeing of military servicemembers. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) cumulative investment in personnel comprises the second-largest share of the total defense budget. As such, DoD seeks advances in healthcare to ensure warfighters can operate at peak performance.
Research into natural and synthetic pathogens, and treatments against them, is one plank of ensuring military readiness in the face of accidental and offensive biological threats to both warfighters and the supply chain supporting them. In this context, the 7-Day Biodefense program will seek to develop novel technologies focused on preventing infection by any emerging pathogen, sustaining survival once infected, and building immunity.
In recent years, global surveillance networks have determined an increase in the frequency and diversity with which new infectious micro-organisms are emerging. While this increase is due in part to improved reporting, multiple examples demonstrate it is also promulgated by changes in natural systems and possibly human activity.
The potential biological threat breaks down into two primary categories:
Together, these emerging threat agents challenge current medical countermeasures. Today’s research and development cycle for countermeasures is ill-equipped for rapid response to emerging biological threats.
In response to the unspecified potential threat from emerging pathogens, the goal of the 7-Day Biodefense program is to develop innovative approaches to counter pathogens without regard to their exact nature. The methods being explored do not require prior knowledge of the pathogen and are broadly applicable to multiple, unrelated infectious agents.
The program consists of four technical areas investigating novel technologies to: 1) prevent infection; 2) sustain survival; 3) provide transient immunity; and 4) create persistent immunity.
Dr. John Juliasjohn.email@example.com