DARPA Selects 4 Academic Teams to Develop Tool to Predict Vaccines’ Long-term Potency

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has chosen four teams to support its Assessing Immune Memory program.

The goal of the initiative is to create a research and evaluation tool for early prediction of the long-term efficacy of vaccines, DARPA said Friday.

“The current state of vaccine durability assessment is to take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach,” AIM Program Manager Michael Feasel said. “AIM will take a systems-level view of the response to vaccination and explore the mechanisms that lead to long-lasting protection.

“The plan is that this will then be implemented as a tool to predict vaccine duration of protection without waiting years for clinical trial results,” Feasel continued.

Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, Stanford University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore were selected to help accomplish the five-year program. 

It will be divided into two phases, the first of which will focus on establishing a “road map” for immune memory using cell and signaling contributors. Phase 2 will concentrate on assembly and validation of the assessment tool.

The Department of Defense hopes to use the technology to protect warfighters being deployed to locations where they could be at risk for biothreats and other immunological challenges.

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