In May 2009, DARPA initiated the Blue Angel effort to identify ongoing programs to assist in the Government-wide response to the H1N1 pandemic. The Blue Angel program is an accelerated and integrated effort to deliver effective interventions for pandemic influenza. Blue Angel brings together the following technologies to form a comprehensive approach in response to a pandemic influenza or manmade outbreak: Predicting Health and Disease (PHD), a program to predict and diagnose individuals exposed to influenza before they are symptomatic; Modular IMmune In vitro Constructs (MIMIC®), a program to identify safe and effective treatments in a test tube; and Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals (AMP), a capability for rapidly mass producing low-cost, vaccine-grade recombinant protein that has the potential for scale up to tens of millions of doses per month. In response to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, Blue Angel programs are currently in a "live-fire test" to demonstrate a flexible and agile capability for the Defense Department to rapidly react and neutralize any natural or intentional pandemic disease.
Predicting Health and Disease (PHD): PHD has developed a method for determining who will or will not become sick after exposure to a virus many days before symptoms appear, typically within 10 percent of the incubation period of a particular virus. This is accomplished using a highly accurate, mRNA-based blood test. By identifying key biomarkers for host response to respiratory viral infections, PHD can categorize viral-exposed individuals into specific categories—those who will be sick, those individuals who are contagious, and those who are well. Accuracy of this method is 85-90 percent within hours of viral exposure and achieves near 100-percent detection after a few days. High accuracy of detection enables prevention, prediction of disease propagation, and appropriate early treatment of infected individuals.
Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals (AMP): This program seeks to identify new ways to produce large amounts of high-quality vaccine-grade protein in less than 3 months in response to emerging and novel biologic threats. In response to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, as a "live-fire test," the plant platform redirected its rapid scale-up process developed for avian influenza to the new H1N1 virus and produced a recombinant protein within 4 weeks.
Modular IMmune In vitro Constructs (MIMIC®): As animal studies are not always a good predictor of a vaccine's safety and efficacy in a human, the MIMIC® system will work in parallel with the AMP program to test the subunit of vaccine produced under the AMP program to ensure it is safe and immunogenic.
Dr. John Juliasjohn.email@example.com