67 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 80 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
General News   

DARPA, Operation Warp Speed, and the Covid-19 Ka-ching Ahead

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   4 comments, In Series: Covid-19
Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Hawkins
Become a Fan
  (9 fans)

DARPA, Operation Warp Speed, and the Covid-19 Ka-ching Ahead

by John Kendall Hawkins

If/When Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca put out a viable Covid-19 solution in October, it won't come as a surprise to DARPA.

The Department of Defense agency that 'gifted' the original Internet (ARPANET) to the world back in the 70s, set up the Pandemic Prevention Program (P3) shortly after Donald J. Trump's presidential inauguration in January 2017. The highly ambitious principle function of P3 is to scramble scientists, pharmacies, and government agencies to combat pandemic outbreaks before they can savage a population. They want to be able to take any virus and come up with "a functionally integrated platform to deliver pandemic prevention treatments in

The process works like this: Grow a virus, find an antibody, evolve antibody. manufacture and deliver a solution. Here is their own explanation in detail and with illustrations. The P3 has been up and running for more than two years already. Working with partners, such as Lilly, AbCellera, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech, and Amgen, they've conducted 'war games' against viruses, which are simulations of pandemics with their amped-up responses. Ostensibly, the system would be the solution.

As it turned out, an intergovernmental working group set up by the Department of Health and Human Services was there and ready. Officers of the DHHS's Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) team took the first blood sample obtained from a Washington state patient who recovered from COVID-19 and, on February 25, handed it over to a DARPA partner, the privately held biotech company Abcellera in Vancouver, to immediately "evolve identified antibodies to high potency" in order to "deliver gene-encoded therapeutics." Abcellera partnered with the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to deliver the immune-reactive solution to the public. And on June 1, right as they said they could do, Abcellera and Lilly announced a viable stop-gap solution for Covid-19, pending a vaccine. Ta-da!


Describing how it works, Abcellera tells us that "LY-CoV555 is a highly potent, neutralizing IgG1 monoclonal antibody that targets the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Its mechanism of action is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, and to neutralize the virus, potentially preventing and treating COVID-19." In short, LY-CoV555 creates an immune response that wards off Covid-19 as it tries to latch on. However, according to the government, the trial will not end, and outcomes known, until November 5 -- just after the election. Meaning antibody treatments could begin in early November.

I have been corresponding with DARPA and Abcellera over the last few months regarding P3. Here is a condensed and lightly edited version of my more recent Q and A with DARPA:

Q: I'm amazed by a process that can identify candidate antibodies that quickly. Can you explain in layman's terms how that works?

A: The P3 performers used proprietary microfluidic technologies to rapidly screen and select candidate antibodies.

Q: How could P3 be so sure that they'd meet the target of Aug 1, for testing?

A: Where science is concerned, you can never be certain that you will hit a milestone until proven, but based on the data received by that point we were fairly confident that we would meet the deadline.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

John Hawkins Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Chicago 7: Counter Cultural Learnings of America for Make Money Glorious Nation of Post-Truthvaluestan

Sonnet: Man-Machine: The Grudge Match

Outing the Appendix: The Climate Change Wars

Q and A with Carey Gillam of The New Lede

Sonnet: Mother's Day Poem

Finding the Mother Tree: An Interview with Suzanne Simard

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend