Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Infectious Disease

Relating to ailments caused by pathogens

Showing 55 results for Disease RSS
Pathogens with pandemic potential, toxic chemicals, and radioactive materials all endanger public health and pose a threat to national security. Despite investment in the development of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to address these threats, many existing MCMs suffer from limited applicability, insufficient efficacy, requirements for repeat dosing, lengthy and complex manufacturing processes, and logistically burdensome storage requirements. In many cases, unique threats require unique responses, setting up a “one threat, one MCM” paradigm.
United States military forces deploy to remote locations around the world, often in areas where emerging infectious diseases are common. The PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT) program seeks to preserve military readiness by protecting against the infectious disease threat; however, rather than treating people, PREEMPT targets viral pathogens within the animal reservoirs and insect vectors where many diseases originate before they spill over into humans.
The Prometheus program aims to improve military readiness and force health through development of a prognostic that can determine if an individual is contagious before he exhibits symptoms of illness. DARPA’s goal is to develop a molecular test for determining if an individual is likely to spread disease following exposure to an infectious agent and predict within 24 hours of exposure if that individual will become contagious. That ability to predict contagiousness would allow for specific planning and concentration of resources to prevent the spread of an illness from an individual to a population within the confined settings and close quarters typical of military operations.
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, and by focusing on prevention DoD may contain costs while enhancing readiness. In this context, the Prophecy (Pathogen Defeat) program will explore the evolution of viruses in the hopes of predicting viral mutations and ultimately developing drugs and vaccines in advance of need.
The Rapid Threat Assessment (RTA) program aims to provide critical information to speed production of medical countermeasures to protect U.S. forces against novel chemical and biological weapons. Such weapons have historically been mass-produced within a year of discovery. Development of countermeasures, however, currently takes far longer. Using current methods and technologies, researchers require decades of study to gain a cellular-level understanding of how new threat agents exert their effects.