Of course you didn’t. But if you guessed the human body, give yourself a gold star.
Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as just DARPA, just caught on to something brilliant: they can use the human body’s ability to quickly create antibodies as a new vaccine-making method.
The problem with current vaccination production is that it just takes too long. Right now, on average, it takes at least nine months to produce vaccines in large enough quantities to treat major outbreaks.
To give you an idea of how ineffective this method is, scientists crunched the numbers for the 2009 influenza outbreak to see the effect vaccinations had.
The results were startling. Of the 60 million-plus Americans who got the flu shot in 2009, only 1.6% were truly protected.
This result was a combination of the slow production process, and limited vaccine effectiveness. The scary part is that this particular vaccine was the fastest ever produced according to Col. Daniel Wattendorf, a clinical geneticist with DARPA.
So this new method of using the human body as its own antibody factory is a god-send. Essentially, once a body overcomes the virus, it contains antibodies that can then be transferred to another patient.
In fact, this is exactly what scientists did last year during the Ebola crisis. This method essentially jump-starts the immune system by giving it the exact antibodies to replicate in order to fight specific diseases.
The problem is: how do you do this on a large enough scale to battle an outbreak?
Right now, a method is in production that will copy the best gene from recovered patients. Basically, scientists will replicate the DNA of a patient who survived the virus, then go from there.
So far this technique looks promising. Some in the industry think it will be 1,000-times more effective than the current method of production.
I am tracking this technology via my social media collective intelligence system. In the past we’ve been able to get a jumpstart on the rest of the market by targeting and tracking disruptive technology similar to this.
I’ll advise BioTech Intel Traders if we start to see an uptick in this technology’s momentum across publicly traded companies.
Editor, Biotech Intel Trader