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BIO-Defense Issues. Basic Premises. The Cat is out of the Bag Technology and Know-how too widely dispersed (Roger Breachy’s student) From Nations to: Nations Loose organizations/networks Garage Hackers (by 2010-2015) Impossible to distinguish beneficent from belligerent bioscience

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basic premises
Basic Premises
  • The Cat is out of the Bag
    • Technology and Know-how too widely dispersed (Roger Breachy’s student)
    • From Nations to:
      • Nations
      • Loose organizations/networks
      • Garage Hackers (by 2010-2015)
  • Impossible to distinguish beneficent from belligerent bioscience
      • Everything is dual use (“not the needle, the hay”)
  • The Rate of change is exponential
    • By several measures > Moore’s law
    • E.g., genetic info fully sequenced, demand for specifically sequenced materials, pace of fundamental new discoveries (RNAi) etc.
  • And this is Manchester -- 1840
    • Ability to synthesize and manipulate will increase radically over next decade
    • CAN NOT PREDICT > 5 Years Out (J. Watson)
    • Short window to set global norms of appropriate use
old vs new biodefense
Choose a naturally occurring pathogen or toxin

Weaponize it

E.g., via aerosolizing

Very recently: enhance through modification

IMPLICATIONS:

Limited number of agents of concern

Largely, observable indicators for intelligence to track

Containable Problem – ala Nukes -- i.e., Deterrence and non-proliferation more or less possible

The Old Threats PLUS:

Add new capabilities to a natural pathogen transgenically

Add totally new capabilities not found in nature

E.g., target to haplotypes or alleles

New immune-suppressors or neuro modulators

Bio time-bombs

Design something totally new, UN-natural – designer bioweapons

Engineered to exploit vulnerabilities (e.g. fear-inducing agent)

Weapon does not have to be alive so long as it provokes a host response!!!!

Biomolecules as the agents, with the organism as the delivery mechanism

Further weaponize as necessary

IMPLICATIONS: NO LONGER A CONTAINABLE PROBLEM

No observable indicators in production

Total Sequence Awareness???

Must shift to detection and rapid response: analysis and diagnosis, intervention, therapies

Old vs. New BioDefense

OLD World

NEW World

Dilemma: Don’t need real knowledge to design something bad, but need full knowledge to respond effectively.

technologies of concern
Advanced Weaponization:

Microencapsulation

Biofilms

Carrier Beads

Nanoparticles/nano powders

RNAi

Virus-related:

Viral reverse genetics

Viral pseudotyping

Engineered viral agents

Prions and similar things

Mycotics/Fungals

Anti-materials applications

Synthetic DNA/RNA

Proliferated digitally

DNA Shuffling

Bioregulators – kinases, phosphates, peptides

Immunoregulators – Cytokines, chemokines

Multiple agents (e.g, influenza and pneumonococcus)

Novel Toxins

Transgenic Pathogens

DNA Vaccines

Ethnic Weapons

Technologies of Concern
points of interest
Points of Interest
  • Innate Immunity/defense -- Major revolution brewing – human and ag (why do most plants resist most pathogens???)
  • Antibiotic resistance (APUA)
    • MDRs (multidrug resistance organisms) increasing (now 2-6 antibotics, many no treatment at all)
    • Don’t know resevoirs of MDR
      • Some projects including getting big pharma to share databases on resistance to new drugs
      • Animal antibiotic use is a huge problem – no prescriptions and large quantities
    • Paratech – new paradigm from antibiotic resistance: Idea is to inhibit multiple pathogens to let the drugs do their work
      • Timing of prophylaxis is critical: Enfeeble the organism before it can colonize the host
      • MARA (bacterial protein) – this 1 protein appears to turn on/off 80 genes (lots of MARA homologues in other organisms) including those that enable colonization and reproduction
          • Small molecule to inhibit is goal
broad areas germane to the problem
Broad Areas Germane to the Problem
  • Vaccines and Immunology
  • Antibiotics and antivirals
  • Toxicology and Pathogenicity
  • Epidemiology and Surveillance
    • Big emphasis on “a new epidemiology” in detection, prevention, mitigation
  • Detection, rapid diagnosis and sensors
tentative implications
Tentative Implications
  • Any response MUST fully leverage civilian bio, medical, agric., etc. capabilities
    • International Coalition against dark biology
      • BWC – Bush Administration has no credibility
    • In intelligence gathering
    • In research
    • In industry and technology
pharmaceuticals
pharmaceuticals
  • Another story of vertical specialization: How & why?
  • The search for “blockbusters” through bulking up: So far, not so good.
  • The changing role of publicly funded research and universities: Be careful what you wish for.
    • Proteomics and genomics.
  • Foreign markets and IPR: The Doha Round of trade talks and developing-economy access to pharmaceuticals.
    • Creating incentives for development of drugs for developing-economy diseases.
  • Bio-defense and the pharma. Industry.