2 min readMilitary programs aim to end pandemics forever

The following is a summary of a CBS News 60 Minutes feature on Pentagon-funded projects to eliminate pandemics. The article was published on April 11, 2021 and was written by Bill Whitaker.

The article features retired army infections disease physician, Colonel Matt Hepburn and his work at the Defensive Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

In the article, Hepburn explains how the DARPA model enables them to create new breakthroughs in the sciences, the latest of which is the record-speed development of the COVID-19 vaccine. He introduces us to some projects that were never before seen in public, an example of which is a tiny subdermal sensor that has the capacity to signal if a person will have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Also featured in the article is Dr. Joel Moncur who directs the Joint Pathology Institute. One of his more important works involves the characterization of the virus that brought the 1918 Spanish Flu and the replication of antibodies developed by the survivors of the disease.

Editor’s Note: Though this article focused on DARPA’s work to eliminate pandemics, there is something here that needs to be highlighted.

Towards the end of the article, another DARPA researcher, Dr. James Crowe remarked, “Wow, your body is a library of everything you’ve ever seen. Then we started thinking, as medical researchers, we could find the cure to virtually everything that ever occurred – on the planet”.

At the core of DARPA’s work to eradicate pandemics is the amazing capacity of the human body to heal itself. From the 100-year-old people who still had antibodies that reacted to the 1918 influenza, to the antibodies found in the bodies of those who survived COVID, we see that even without medicine, the human body has powerful intelligence that enables it to protect itself from illness.

Will artificial intelligence be capable of such creativity? Based on what we know about the system, we can say that without the information from the human body, it cannot deliver its promise of super health. No wonder biotech companies are now scrambling to get our health data.

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