Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Infectious Disease

Relating to ailments caused by pathogens

Showing 43 results for Disease + Therapy RSS
In every population that encounters an infectious organism, a few individuals prove to be resilient—unfazed by that pathogen because they are either resistant to it (their immune systems keep the pathogen from multiplying to dangerous levels) or tolerant (they don’t get as sick as they otherwise might despite carrying high pathogen loads). Conventional disease treatments such as antibiotics have almost exclusively sought to emulate natural resistance by keeping patients’ pathogen levels as low as possible.
Zika. Ebola. Dengue. Influenza. Chikungunya. These are but a few among the growing cadre of viruses that today pose serious health threats to U.S. troops, as well as to civilian populations in the United States and around the world. Vaccines exist for but a few of these infectious diseases. And since these viruses have an uncanny ability to mutate and morph as they reproduce inside their hosts, those few vaccines that do exist are quickly outdated, providing little protection against the latest viral strains. That’s why flu vaccine manufacturers, for example, must produce new versions annually, at enormous expense and with variable year-to-year efficacy.
A research team at the University of Washington has harnessed complex computational methods to design customized proteins that can self-assemble into 120-subunit “icosahedral” structures inside living cells—the biggest, self-booting, intracellular protein nanocages ever made. The breakthrough offers a potential solution to a pressing scientific challenge: how to safely and efficiently deliver to cells new and emerging biomedical treatments such as DNA vaccines and therapeutic interfering particles.
Over the past several years, DARPA-funded researchers have pioneered RNA vaccine technology, a medical countermeasure against infectious diseases that uses coded genetic constructs to stimulate production of viral proteins in the body, which in turn can trigger a protective antibody response. As a follow-on effort, DARPA funded research into genetic constructs that can directly stimulate production of antibodies in the body
Avian influenza (H7N9). MERS coronavirus. Ebola. Hepatitis E. Yellow Fever. Lassa. Zika. When you consider the viral infectious diseases that emerged and reemerged around the world in 2017 alone, what many of them have in common is that they originated in animals and spilled over into humans after a series of mutations that enable the pathogens to jump species.