Air Force

Virally encoded protein therapeutics

Novel therapeutic design principle with the potential to rapidly respond to emergent infectious diseases

Medical & Biotechnology

Pathogen encoded protein expression

Annual influenza vaccines are a hallmark of the flu season. However, the protective value of the current vaccine production method is limited at best. Each year’s vaccine cocktail is produced based upon predictions from the previous year’s strain prevalence, introducing a 9- to 12-month period during which new strains can proliferate and eliminating any possibility for rapid response to emergent strains. Furthermore, the current treatment methods require initiation within 48 hours of symptom onset, which is commonly before infected patients seek medical treatment.

Air Force researchers have developed a DNA-based therapeutic for treating diseases that have promoter sequences unique to the pathogen and not the host organism (i.e., a human).

Such diseases include, but are not limited to, viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections as well as many forms of benign and malignant tumors. Such rapidly designed potential therapies could be applied in compassionate use cases, as a last resort intervention for emergent epidemics, or as a mitigation strategy for seasonal outbreaks.

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