The Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program aims to support military readiness and global stability through pursuit of novel methods to dramatically accelerate discovery, integration, pre-clinical testing, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures against infectious diseases. P3 confronts the reality that Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are not only deployed around the world for routine operations, but are often among the first responders to outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging disease with pandemic potential (e.g., Ebola). P3 aims specifically to develop a scalable, adaptable, rapid response platform capable of producing relevant numbers of doses against any known or previously unknown infectious threat within 60 days of identification of such a threat in order to keep the outbreak from escalating and decrease disruptions to the military and homeland. State-of-the-art medical countermeasures often take many months or even years to develop, produce, distribute, and administer. The envisioned P3 platform would cut response time to weeks and stay within the window of relevance for containing an outbreak.
P3 focuses on rapid discovery, characterization, production, testing, and delivery of efficacious DNA- and RNA-encoded medical countermeasures, a foundational technology pioneered by DARPA under the Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics (ADEPT) program that provides the body with instructions on how to immediately begin producing protective antibodies against a given threat. The P3 program seeks to unlock the potential of these coded genetic constructs—establishing them as the basis for a threat-agnostic platform technology—by achieving and integrating breakthroughs in three key areas: novel approaches for the growth of viruses for use in testing and evaluation of countermeasures; rapid identification and maturation of protective antibodies to increase their potency; and novel technologies for the delivery of nucleic acid constructs into patients to encode the antibody of interest and produce a protective response.
A principal benefit of the nucleic-acid-based approach to limiting the spread of infection is that genetic constructs introduced into the body would process quickly and not integrate into an individual’s genome. Similarly, the antibodies produced in response to treatment would only be present in the body for weeks to months. This is consistent with DARPA's intent to safely deliver transient immunity, halting the spread of disease by creating a firewall, and buying time for longer-term medical responses to be developed and deployed.
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