“60 minutes” program He highlighted the efforts made by the Ministry of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to find innovative solutions to overcome Covid-19 disease and other diseases, and it has already accessed new technologies and is working on other projects.
The program met the man leading the rapid vaccination effort, retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an infectious disease physician who spent years with the agency.
Hepburn said work is underway on projects that will help prevent another pandemic.
One of these projects is a sensor placed under the skin to read chemical reactions that may occur due to an infection. This sensor, which he likened to a “check engine light” in a car, emits a signal that means symptoms will appear on the infected person.
The former officer says that this sensor can be used to avoid infection among a large number of people, such as that which occurred last year at the USS “Roosevelt”, where hundreds of Covid-19 cases were detected among the soldiers on board.
This, according to Hepburn, would save time and effort for diagnosis and treatment because “the infection will be stopped in its course.”
“We say, ‘Here’s your money. But then here’s the stopwatch. We’re going to do a capability demonstration,’” says a former DARPA official about how the agency pushed to find a way to respond fast enough to stop an outbreak its tracks. https://t.co/90Qwe1JV0w pic.twitter.com/FdggaIvqMf
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 11, 2021
The doctor says that the agency’s director told him that “your mission is to remove epidemics from the table,” something that “seems impossible, but this embodies the beauty of the agency’s work, that we challenge the research community to come up with solutions that may sound like science fiction. High stakes that may not succeed, but when they do, the landscape may turn out completely. ”
He cited another example of a military wife who was seriously ill with Covid-19 and was about to die. The woman, called “Patient 16”, agreed to participate in an agency study of a “candidate” who would be connected to a dialysis machine and “remove the virus from the blood.”
The report says the patient has made a full recovery and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the filter in emergency situations. It was already used to treat about 300 critically ill patients.
Dr. James Crowe, an infectious disease researcher who has conducted several studies on influenza antibodies, joined the agency in 2017 and asked him to produce enough antibodies to stop an epidemic, to be completed within 60 days, knowing that it is a process that takes between six Months to a year under the best of circumstances, and he was already able to do a trial to produce antibodies in 78 days.
Amid the Corona pandemic, Crow was asked to produce “real” antibodies to stop the disease, not just simulating as in his previous experience.
Crowe and his team approved the mission and worked around the clock to find life-saving antibodies in the blood of Corona virus survivors, and his lab was already able to find an antibody treatment produced by the drug company AstraZeneca, in just 25 days.